At least 44 inmates broke out of a remote prison in Peru's northern jungle after threatening guards with knives, prison authorities reported.
Prisoners ambushed two guards at dawn at the San Humberto de Bagua Grande prison in Utcubamba, in the Amazonas region on Saturday, and threatened them with the blades, the National Penal Institute (INPE) said in a statement.
The inmates fled through the front door, taking with them an AKM automatic rifle, the INPE said.
Early reports said that 25 inmates had fled and were holding prison guards hostage.
A senior penal system authority flew to the site while the National Police began an operation to re-capture the convicts.
A special committee meanwhile was in talks with jungle natives to stop vehicles on an area highway to help authorities apprehend the inmates, the president of the Amazonas region, Oscar Altamirano Quispe, told RPP radio network.
The prison is located some 900 kilometers (560 miles) north of Lima.