Ecuador prison riot leaves at least 43 dead

STORY: Dozens of prison inmates were killed during a riot early on Monday in Ecuador.

The riot was sparked after a gang leader was transferred to Santo Domingo's Bellavista prison which authorities believe may have caused unrest among prisoners.

During the riots - authorities say 43 prisoners died - most were stabbed to death and 108 prisoners remain at large. 112 have been recaptured.

A relative of an inmate, Angel Montano was shocked by the incident:

"We found out (about the riot) when he (inmate's relative) called to say they were exploding dynamite with firearms inside. They were entering the cells to kill everyone."

Many family members gathered outside the jail, wanting to know if their loved ones inside were dead or alive.

This is the latest incident of violence in Ecuadorean prisons,which are often fights between gangs over control of territory and drug trafficking routes.

Last year over 300 prisoners died during riots across the country.

A security fence has since been built around the jail's perimeter.

Human rights groups say the system is blighted by state abandonment and the absence of a comprehensive policy, as well as poor conditions for inmates such as overcrowding.

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