Police hunt for 55 escaped prisoners in Ecuador

Prison guards are being investigated as accomplices.

A massive manhunt was launched in Ecuador as police combed the capital Quito in search of 55 escaped prisoners.


The detainees are said to have got out during visiting hours, running into a busy market. Twenty escapees have been recaptured.

The authorities claim the breakout from the overcrowded jail was aided by prison guards.

Ecuador's interior minister accused a senior prison official of “negligence” and said the prison director together with several officials had been “relieved of their duties.”

According to the interior minister, among the fugitives included an inmate who should have been jailed at an adjoining facility, however, the convict was likely moved to detention center to facilitate his escape.

In addition, he said nine guards out of 24, who were supposed to be on duty at the time of the jailbreak, were being investigated after failing to report for their shifts. 
The minister stated the breakout was part of a mutiny designed to “cause chaos” in the penitentiary and to allow the escape of inmates in adjacent prisons. However, authorities were able to prevent the action. 

The prison in Quito has a capacity of 300 inmates but currently houses around 1,500 prisoners.