GUATEMALA CITY: Imprisoned Guatemalan gang members took 10 guards hostage Monday after prison system authorities moved some gang leaders to another lockup.
Interior Minister Olivero García Rodas dismissed gang demands that the Barrio 18 gang leaders be returned for the guards to be released at the prison known as "Little Hell" in southern Guatemala.
He said authorities had control outside the prison.
Early Monday, prison authorities had transferred some gang members who made up the inmate leadership at the prison.
"It was an operation organized to break up the gangs," García said.
"If the use of force becomes necessary, force will have to be used."
In an audio recording sent to reporters, someone saying he was a guard held hostage said the gang members wanted a peaceful dialogue to make sure their leaders weren't sent to two prisons near the capital.
"We beg authorities to consider us and our families. Come peacefully," the message said.