Jail riots in Sri Lanka claim 13, commando chief injured

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Colombo, Nov 10: At least 13 people were killed and 32 injured in Sri Lanka's main prison on Friday after the inmates took on elite police commandos in a gun battle, official sources said. The clashes erupted when the elite police Special Task Force (STF) commandos were conducting a search operation inside the Welikada prison for drugs and mobile phones smuggled inside.

According to a military source, the inmates grabbed weapons from the officers and overpowered the guards. The adjoining Baseline road was closed to ensure that civilians did not fell victim to the jail riot.

Sources at Colombo National Hospital said out of 45 people who were brought, 13 people were dead on admission. Six persons were in a critical state and three out of them had undergone surgery.

Friday's riot was the worst at the high-security Welikada prison since July 1983 when over 50 ethnic Tamil prisoners were killed by Sinhalese prisoners. It was a period when severe anti-Tamil riots had gripped the island nation. In 2010, over 50 police and prison guards were injured in a riot during a raid to seize illegal mobile phones.

The identity of the victims of Friday's riots were still being ascertained although witnessess said they were inmates. Some of the inmates had gone on the roof-top and fired at the troops and the police and the troops also retaliated. The clashes went on for several hours. The troops had to use armoured vehicles to move in reinforcements as inmates kept on firing at them.

STF head deputy inspector-general RM Ranawana also suffered bullet injuries and is undergoing treatment at the hospital.

OneIndia News

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