Colombo, Nov 9: At least nine people were killed and 20 security personnel 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 the Welikada prison for heroin and mobile phones, reported Xinhua, quoting Sri Lankan prisons commissioner P.W. Kodippili.
The prisoners then attacked the guards and police with stones forcing the police to fire teargas inside the prison to control the situation.
The situation, however, further escalated and the military was called in as the prisoners broke into the prison armoury and stole the 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 from the prison and were shot at by the security forces.
The Colombo national hospital said nine bodies were brought to the hospital and 34 were admitted with injuries. Among those injured was 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 and the situation was brought under control, the commissioner said.