Authorities are investigating 37 inmates after the latest outbreak of violence at a prison in Guayaquil – one of the four jails where gang warfare broke out in February in Ecuador's worst-ever prison violence.

FILE PHOTO: Family members of inmates react outside a prison where inmates were killed during a riot that the government described as a concerted action by criminal organisations, in Guayaquil, Ecuador February 25, 2021.
FILE PHOTO: Family members of inmates react outside a prison where inmates were killed during a riot that the government described as a concerted action by criminal organisations, in Guayaquil, Ecuador February 25, 2021. (Reuters)

A gunfight between inmates in Ecuador has left five dead and 15 wounded, authorities said, two months after simultaneous riots at four jails claimed 79 lives.

The government's prison authority tweeted that 37 inmates are under investigation after the latest outbreak of violence at a prison in Guayaquil – one of the four jails where gang warfare broke out in February in Ecuador's worst-ever prison violence.

Officials also said they have full control of the Guayaquil prison, where the violence broke out.

Ecuador's prison system has a capacity to house 29,000 inmates at 60-odd facilities, but a prisoner population of 38,000.

There are 1,500 guards to oversee them – a shortfall of about 2,500.

103 inmates killed last year

In February's violence, inmates were left decapitated and burnt in violence that exposed the power of prison gangs and shocked the South American nation.

In total, 103 inmates were killed in Ecuadorian prisons last year, according to the office of the human rights ombudsman.

Interior Minister Gabriel Martinez said Wednesday that order had been restored at the Guayaquil prison.

He added security has been reinforced at all prisons after the latest "disturbances" in a bid to prevent any escalation.

"We will not allow the violent acts of February in prisons to be repeated," Martinez said on Twitter.

READ MORE: Families claim bodies of inmates killed in Ecuador prison riots

Source: AFP