Inmates feared dead in Sri Lankan prison riot

Colombo, Nov 9: Some inmates were feared killed and security personnel were injured when a riot broke out at a prison here Friday.

The riot broke out when prison guards together with police commandos attempted to search the cells of Welikada prison for heroin and mobile phones, said Sri Lankan prisons commissioner P.W. Kodippili, reported Xinhua.

Prisoners then attacked the guards and police with stones forcing the police to fire tear-gas inside the prison to control the situation.

The situation, however, escalated and the military was called in as the prisoners broke into the armoury and stole weapons, Kodippili said.

He said the prisoners fired at the security forces and the police using the weapons they had stolen.

Witnesses said some inmates attempted to escape and were shot at by the security forces.

Bodies were seen in one location but security forces could not reach the area as gunshots were being fired.

The Colombo national hospital said at least 13 people were admitted for treatment during the prison riot, including the head of the police commando unit.

Some journalists who went to cover the riot were also injured and admitted to hospital.

A busy road adjoining the prison complex was closed during evening rush hour as bullets fell on the street.

Police and army reinforcements were deployed to the prison, the commissioner said.

IANS