(Guayaquil) Two new armed attacks Thursday in Ecuador left five dead, including three prison guards aged 26 to 31, and one seriously injured, authorities said.

The three prison guards were killed while they were “outside the Guayas penitentiary complex”, the National Penitentiary Service (SNAI) said.

In this same center, located in Guayaquil, a large port city in the south-west of the country plagued by violence linked to drug trafficking, six detainees were found hanged in their cell on Wednesday.

The three women were attacked by “hit men”, SNAI director general Guillermo Rodriguez told reporters.

Ecuadorian prisons are the scene of recurrent massacres between prisoners, against a backdrop of rivalry between criminal groups fighting over drug trafficking.

Two other people were killed Thursday and one was seriously injured in the town of Posorja, not far from Guayaquil, police said.

The victims were in a boat off the harbor when they came under “fire” from about a dozen assailants, according to local police chief Col. Edison Rodriguez.

On Tuesday, around 30 armed men opened fire in the small fishing port of Esmeraldas, in the north of the country, near the Colombian border, killing nine. The assailants arrived by boat and car and, without a word, fired indiscriminately at those present.

Ecuador is facing a wave of violence due to a power struggle between gangs involved in drug trafficking.

Faced with the surge of this violence, President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency on March 3 for 60 days in three provinces, including those of Guayaquil and Esmeraldas.