Fifty-five inmates bust out of Ecuador jail
Quito: Fifty-five inmates escaped from an overcrowded jail in Ecuador but 20 were swiftly recaptured, authorities said. Interior Minister Jose Serrano said yesterday the jailbreak occurred with the "express participation" of guards at the facility in Quito, accusing a senior prison official of "negligence."
The director of the prison and several officials had been "relieved of their duties," Serrano added. The detention center is designed for 300 inmates but in fact houses around 1,500 prisoners.
Serrano said the escapees included an inmate serving a 25-year sentence who should have been jailed at an adjoining facility.
The prisoner was likely moved to the detention center to facilitate his escape, Serrano added. The minister said that nine guards out of 24 were supposed to be on duty at the time of the breakout were being investigated after failing to report for their shifts.
Serrano said the breakout was part of a mutiny designed to "cause chaos" in the jail and allow the escape of inmates in neighboring prisons, which authorities were able to prevent.
Ecuador has an estimated 18,000 people in its jails out of a population of 15 million people. A quarter of prisoners are behind bars for drug offenses.
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