Student teachers in Mexico are threatening to burn alive a police chief they abducted as a dispute over employment rights spirals out of control.

Students in the village of Carapan, Chilchota municipality, stole and torched around 100 cars in three months, and have now abducted police chief Alfredo Lucio Rios Chávez, say reports on Thursday (29 September).

The students are demanding guaranteed job placements after completing their education at the Indigenous Normal School in the nearby town of Cherán. On Tuesday (27 September) 49 people were arrested as others began to burn buses and trucks in protest.

According to Chilchota Mayor, Mario Silva, the police chief Rios approached the students as they were setting fire to three vehicles to "try to calm the kids down and they grabbed him as a hostage and took him away", Fox News reported.

During the abduction he was taken to Tacuro and then to Turicuaro, where he is now being held.

In a recording of a phone call obtained by the Quadratín news agency, Rios says: "I ask that you please release the boys . . . they say they are going to burn me alive. Here in Carapan they already have me on my knees in the square and they have the gasoline ready. Help, please, they're beating me!" according to a report by Mexico News Daily.

Government Secretary General, Adrián López Solís, said the authorities would not bow to the students' demands. "They expect the government to free normal school students in exchange for the release of [the police chief], a condition that we cannot permit," said Solis.

There has previously been violent disputes between students and police in Mexico. In 2014, 43 students disappeared in the city of Iguala, 560 km (350 miles) to the south of Carapan.

The students were taken away by local police and the Mexican government claimed they were then handed over to a drugs cartel who murdered them, incinerated their bodies and dumped their remains in a river.