At least ten guards are being held hostage by prisoners at Paraguay's largest prison, according to the country's authorities.
During the afternoon on Tuesday, inmates in the Tacumb jail in the capital city of Asunción began to cause a commotion. Stones being thrown at the police by inmates who were held on the top of the jail were caught on camera.
The superintendent of the correctional facility asserts that those responsible for the disturbances are members of the Rotela Clan prison gang.
The exact number of guards that are still being kept as hostages is unknown at this time.
In a video call with a local radio station on Wednesday morning local time, the superintendent of the prison, Luis Esquivel, stated that he and 21 guards were still being held by the rioters.
Mr. Esquivel stood in front of his uniformed employees "at the back of a wing" to explain that he and the guards had been detained for 15 hours. He added that they are receiving "good treatment."
According to Mr. Esquivel, the prisoners have made three demands in exchange for releasing the hostages: a guarantee that the police will not storm the prison, a signed document stating that there will be no retaliation for the riot, and a promise that the overcrowded Tacumb prison will be reopened for new inmates.
Local media have reported that the Rotela Clan is attempting to increase its influence in Tacumb by having even more of its members sent there, despite the fact that the prison already holds thousands more inmates than it was designed to.
It is unclear whether more than two dozen women are being held against their will or whether they voluntarily stayed with their jailed companions during the riot that broke out during visiting hours.
Inmates set fire to mattresses within the facility, producing visible flames.
Angel Barchini, the minister of justice of Paraguay, stated that the government would not allow itself to be blackmailed by criminal gangs and insisted that the security forces will regain control of the prison.
During a meeting of ministers on October 2, Mr. Barchini revealed that he intended to devise a strategy to wrestle control of Tacumb away from the Rotela Clan, who now hold that position.
The media in Paraguay has hypothesized that the news of this proposal could have been the spark that ignited the unrest that took place on Tuesday.
It is not just Paraguay that is having trouble regaining control of its prisons after convicts have been running them for years; other countries in the region are having the same problem.
The warden of a "luxury" prison in Venezuela, which had a baseball field and a petting zoo among its amenities, was able to flee the country before the deployment of thousands of military personnel to move prisoners and restore order.
In Ecuador, prison gangs have amassed such a large amount of influence that they now run a significant portion of the country's organized crime syndicates from within the prisons.