Hostages held for five days by armed inmates in Guatemala's largest prison described the ordeal as a "cruel nightmare," and some vowed never to visit their jailed friends and relatives again.
"It was horrible to be held like a prisoner," said Miguel Carranza, 40, as he emerged Thursday from Pavon Prison along with hundreds of other hostages freed when the mutineers signed a pact with the government to end the uprising."I came to see a friend and was held there. Only God saved me from dying," Carranza said.
Under the accord, prison director Osberto Antonio Ruando Reyes was fired and the government pledged to improve prison conditions, Interior Minister Roberto Valle said.
Some of the captives, most of whom were women and children taken hostage while visiting Easter Sunday, wept as they left the prison at the end of the five-day uprising that left at least 11 people dead and 20 wounded.
"Maybe the mutineers had some reason for demanding better living conditions in the prison, but it was unfair to use innocent people like us, especially children and women who endured tremendous suffering," Carranza said.
A young woman who requested anonymity said she "was caught" in the uprising while paying an Easter visit to her jailed boyfriend.
"This has been a cruel nightmare that will be difficult to forget," she said.
Roberto Cruz said he also was visiting a friend when taken hostage and vowed never to return to the prison. "I feel sorry for my friend, but I will never visit him again," Cruz said.
Prison spokesman Conrado Monroy said the last of nearly 500 hostages left the prison Thursday afternoon, several hours after three representatives of the mutineers signed an agreement to end the standoff.