Relatives of inmates are seen near policemen on motorcycles outside the Bellavista prison after a riot, in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, on May 9, 2022. AFP
Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo told a news conference that one group of inmates left their cells to attack another inside the Bellavista lockup in Santo Domingo, some 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Quito, the capital.
``It's evident that those who lost their lives were executed by knives; most of the bodies had those characteristics,'' he said, and offered relatives help in transporting the bodies to their hometowns.
The minister said firearms, explosives, and other weapons were found after police assault teams helped retake control of the prison.
Gen. Fausto Salinas, the incoming police commander, told Teleamazonas television that 40 inmates had been recaptured during escape attempts.
The human rights group Amnesty International reported in March that at least 316 prisoners died in clashes in Ecuadorian prisons in 2020, including 119 who died during one riot in September of that year.
A month after that report was published, a clash between prison gangs armed with guns and knives left 20 people dead in Turi, about 310 kilometers (190 miles) south of the capital.