December 15, 2001

Prison riot kills at least 22 in Paraguay

ASUNCION, Paraguay (CNN) --At least 22 people died Saturday when rioters lit
a fire at a Paraguayan jail, prison officials said.

More than 200 of the facility's 527 prisoners were burned, 63 of them seriously, and
others were being treated for lung injuries.

The riot began when an inmate, apparently trying to escape, attacked a guard with a
homemade knife and the guard fired back and killed him, according to Associated
Press accounts of Paraguayan television reports.

Other prisoners then joined in on the violence, setting mattresses on fire in setting
off a blaze that rapidly enveloped the Alto Parana prison facility.

Officials and volunteers used bulldozers and other equipment to smash holes in the
prison walls to rescue inmates, a regional official told the AP.

The regional penitentiary in Ciudad del Este is near Paraguay's border with Brazil,
more than 200 miles east of Asuncion, the nation's capital.

By Saturday afternoon, the fire had been extinguished, according to fire officials.