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Ecuador prison staff being held hostage by inmates released: Officials

All of the Ecuador prison guards and administrative employees who were being held by inmates were released, the country’s prison agency said Saturday night.

As nationwide civil unrest unfolded in Ecuador, a total of 178 employees were taken hostage on Monday in at least five different prisons, according to the SNAI prisons agency.

According to SNAI, one prison guard had been killed in the El Oro prison.

PHOTO: An Ecuadorean police squad enters the premises of Ecuador's TC television channel after unidentified gunmen burst into the state-owned television studio live on air on Jan. 9, 2024, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. (AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: An Ecuadorean police squad enters the premises of Ecuador's TC television channel after unidentified gunmen burst into the state-owned television studio live on air on Jan. 9, 2024, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. (AFP via Getty Images)

The guards and staffers were being held by inmates in detention facilities in Azuay, Cañar, Tungurahua, Cotopaxi and Napo, the Interior Ministry said.

MORE: Gunmen storm Ecuador TV station after president declares state of emergency

The hostage situation came amid widespread chaos and violence after President Daniel Noboa declared a countrywide state of emergency on Monday.

His declaration of a state of emergency followed reports of a prison escape by José Adolfo Macías Villamar, known as "Fito," an alleged leader of the Los Choneros gang, which is said to have ties to the Sinaloa cartel. He had been convicted on charges including drug trafficking and homicide in 2011 and was being held in a high-security prison in Guyaquil.

More than 3,000 police officers have been mobilized to arrest him, officials said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Ecuador prison staff being held hostage by inmates released: Officials originally appeared on abcnews.go.com