At least 50 people have been killed in several prison mutinies in Ecuador, according to police.
“Criminal organisations are carrying out violent acts at a number of detention centres at the same time,” President Lenin Moreno wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
“The police and Interior Ministry are working to regain control of the prisons in Guayaquil, Cuenca and Latacunga.”
Interior Minister Patricio Pazmino also spoke of concerted action by criminal organisations.
After security forces were able to bring the situation back under control, investigators conducted a search of cells.
In Guayaquil, they seized firearms, machetes, knives and mobile phones, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“I just came out. They were banging on the doors and shouting,” a visitor to Cuenca prison told El Universo newspaper.
Initial figures had put the number of dead at 10.
Eight people were killed at a detention centre in the port city of Guayaquil, according to police chief Patricio Carrillo. Two more were killed in riots in Cuenca.
Later, however, the death toll shot up rapidly.
More details on the mutinies were not immediately available.
There had previously been riots in several prisons in the South American country.
Violent clashes were also reported at the Cotopaxi prison. Police have deployed additional units to prisons in order to bring the situation under control.