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136 hostages seized in Ecuador prison riots freed

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Ecuadorian prison authorities, on Saturday night, announced the successful liberation of all 136 hostages who had been seized during prison riots. 

The SNAI prison authorities attributed this success to the effective implementation of security protocols and the collaborative efforts between the police and the national army across various prisons nationwide.

In an official statement on the matter, the SNAI prison authorities conveyed, “Security protocols and the joint work of the police and the national army enabled the release of all the hostages who were being held in various prisons across the country.”

President Daniel Noboa, expressing his relief and satisfaction with the outcome, extended his congratulations to the armed forces, national police, and the SNAI. 

He lauded their “patriotic, professional, and courageous work,” stating, “Congratulations to the patriotic, professional and courageous work of the armed forces, national police and the SNAI for achieving the release of the prison guards and administrative staff held in the detention centers of Azuay, Canar, Esmeraldas, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, El Oro and Loja,” as conveyed in his message on the matter.

According to detailed police reports, 46 guards and one civil servant were successfully released from Cotopaxi prison, 13 from Tungurahua prison, and 15 from El Oro prison. Tragically, amidst these liberations, the body of a civil servant was discovered at El Oro prison.

Compelling images broadcast by the police captured the emotional and physically drained state of the released guards, many of whom were seen in tears and being supported by their colleagues immediately after regaining their freedom.

Throughout their harrowing ordeal, hostages had taken to social media, posting videos in which they pleaded for assistance from the authorities. Sadly, at least two hostages lost their lives during this period, with one of them reported to have been hanged, as revealed in the distressing videos.

This crisis unfolded against the backdrop of President Noboa’s military operation targeting criminal groups, leading to a fatal clash with narco gangs in Ecuador. 

The turmoil began with the escape of Jose Adolfo Macias, a notorious narco boss known as “Fito,” from Guayaquil prison. Subsequently, riots erupted in at least five prisons, accompanied by attacks on security forces aimed at spreading terror.

In response to the escalating crisis, over 22,400 military personnel were deployed across the country, including in prisons, and a nightly curfew was imposed as part of comprehensive measures to restore order.

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