Inmates ‘beheaded and guards taken hostage’ as gruesome prison riot rages on

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At least 19 people have been killed and 13 security guards taken hostage in an ongoing gruesome prison riot, local media reports.

It's believed at least four inmates have been beheaded in the chaotic scenes on Wednesday.

The deadly riot, at the Xela prison in Cantel, Guatemala, first started around two hours ago.

Reporters are based at the scene of Model Rehabilitation Farm in the municipality, with one claiming there are streams of blood in the road outside the entrance to the jail.

It is not yet known whether the dead are prison guards, inmates or both.

Journalist Juan Victor at the scene posted on Twitter: "The situation remains tense."

It's claimed the riot in the detention centre was sparked after a prisoner's partner outside was murdered in a targeted killing.

The mutiny occurred in one of the jail's courtyards, where 2,253 inmates live.

The prison is known for its overcrowded conditions.

Police sources told swissinfo that four inmates are dead, but local media report at least 19.

The prison is based in the department of Quetzaltenango, about 200 kilometers west of Guatemala City.

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Footage from the scene shows a large crowd of inmates in a circle in a courtyard, as reporters watch on from the gates.

Armed guards stand outside but are not entering the jail.

Dogs are also barking as a large section outside the entrance is cordoned off.

Several vehicles carrying reinforcements were brought in shortly after the mutiny broke out.

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