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Sri Lanka Prison / Six inmates were killed and 35 others injured when guards opened fire to control a riot at a prison outside the Sri Lankan capital. Two guards were seriously injured, they said
Pandemic unrest has increased in the crowded prisons of Sri Lanka. Inmates at various prisons have held protests in recent weeks as the number of coronavirus cases in the facilities has risen.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said on Sunday that inmates had caused “disturbances” at Mahara prison, about 15 kilometers north of Colombo, and that authorities had tried to control it. the situation


But “the riots have turned into prison riots,” he said, adding that inmates were trying to take control of the prison and hundreds of people tried to flee.

Inmates reportedly destroyed most of the property, including the prison offices, Rohana said.

The guards opened fire and six people were killed and 35 injured in the clash, he said. Two prison guards were seriously injured.

She said hundreds of additional police were deployed to assist the guards and increase security at the prison.

A prisoner was killed in a similar riot at another prison last week. Another died in March.

More than 1,000 inmates in five prisons tested positive for the coronavirus and at least two died. About 50 prison guards also tested positive.

Senaka Perera, a lawyer for the Prisoners’ Rights Protection Committee, said inmates at Mahara prison were frustrated that officials had ignored their requests for coronavirus testing and separation of infected prisoners for more than a month.

Around 500 relatives of prisoners gathered in front of the prison on Monday and asked authorities to provide information about the prisoners and ensure their safety.

Sujeewa Silva said: Her son was held at the facility for seven months after being arrested for drug trafficking. “I want to know if it is safe. I asked the officers to tell me the status of my son, ”he said.

Sri Lanka’s prisons are densely populated with more than 26,000 inmates housed in facilities with a capacity of 10,000 people.

Sri Lanka has seen an outbreak of coronavirus since last month when two groups emerged in Colombo and its suburbs, one in a clothing factory and the other in a fish market.

The cases confirmed by the two clusters reached 19,449 cases. Sri Lanka has reported a total of 22,988 coronavirus cases, including 109 deaths.

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