Rare Video from Paraguay Prison Riot

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A riot sparked by a gang inside Paraguay’s largest prison left at least six prisoners dead, including three who were decapitated. The incident unfolded February 16th, 2021 after hundreds of inmates armed with knives took 18 guards hostage, including eight who were on-duty, at the Tacumbú National Penitentiary in Asunción, the nation’s capital.

At least 18 prison guards were held hostage during the revolt before the prisoners released them after the government agreed not to unleash a harsher assault on them.

Initial reports indicated that the rebellion was caused by members of the Rotela Clan, a Paraguayan mafia, and the Primeiro Comando da Capital, or First Capital Command, a Brazilian faction that is considered the largest criminal organization in Latin America.

However, Paraguay’s Minister of Justice, Cecilia Pérez, said that the uprising was generated by an internal fight between Rotela Clan prisoners after authorities learned of an escape plot involving their leader, Armando Rotela, and Orlando Benítez.

Benítez had been sentenced to 19 years in prison in January 2020 after he was found guilty for his involvement in a string of ATM robberies and the failed robbery attempt of an armored truck transporting cash on November 15.

Benítez, who was an alleged member of a gang that was linked to the Primeiro Comando da Capital, was wounded in a shootout with the police responding to the truck heist.

It's unknown what kind of relationship Benítez has with Rotela since both prisoners were members of different factions. Peréz visited the prison Wednesday and met with leaders of the Rotela Clan, who eventually accepted the government's reasoning behind Benítez's transfer.

She also added that the Primeiro Comando da Capital was not involved in the deadly uprising because none of its gang members were housed at the Tacumbú National Penitentiary, which is largely influenced by the Rotela Clan. Peréz vowed that Paraguay's prison system would not fall under the control of gangs the way it tends to occur in Brazil, El Salvador and Honduras.
 
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