QUITO : Thirteen senior police officers in Ecuador were put on administrative leave and could be fired for their role in a September 30 police mutiny, officials said.

Scores of other police officers have been detained for their alleged role in the mutiny, in which President Rafael Correa was cornered in a hospital by police who seized barracks and stormed Congress to protest cuts in bonus pay.

The president, who denounced the uprising as an attempted coup, was rescued hours later by loyal soldiers and police but 10 people were killed and 274 people were wounded in clashes that day.

Those suspended Wednesday were seven police colonels, four captains, a lieutenant and a second lieutenant, a police spokesman told AFP.

They could be fired if an investigation confirms their role in leading the uprising, the spokesman said.

Also Wednesday, the Ecuadoran Air Force (FAE) opened disciplinary procedures against 160 members of the force to determine if they joined the protests.

On September 30, FAE members blocked the Quito international airport runway, halting air operations, while others protested outside the Ministry of Defense.

In a television interview a day after the unrest, Correa blamed supporters of Lucio Gutierrez -- an ex-army colonel who was president 2003-2005 -- for the chaos, and said the police wanted to kill him.

"One of the police officers killed, a sergeant, was in my escort. The bullet was aimed at me," Correa told local media immediately after the unrest.

The head of the national police resigned over the unrest, and authorities arrested three police colonels on charges of leading the mutiny.

Last week, a judge ordered the arrest of 15 police officers and a politician for their alleged involvement in the unrest, which the Organization of American States (OAS) described as an attempted coup.

Hundreds more are under investigation for participating in the revolt, prosecutors said.

Correa on Wednesday pointed to a former leader in an elite police unit dissolved in 2009 for engaging in human rights abuses as one of the mutiny leaders. The suspect remains at large, Correa said.

On October 6, the president ordered a purge of the 42,000-strong police force, and appointed new leaders for all police major departments.

Correa, 47, a leftist ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who has been in office since 2007, was re-elected last year to a second term as president of the politically unstable country of 14.5 million.

Three of Correa's predecessors from 1996 to 2006 -- including Gutierrez -- were ousted before completing their terms.

Channel NewsAsia - Ecuador suspends senior police officers over mutiny - channelnewsasia.com