Conflict & Justice

27 killed in Sri Lanka's worst prison riot in 3 decades


Sri Lankan soldiers stand guard near the Welika maximum prison in Colombo on November 10, 2012. Sri Lanka's military was called in to quell the worst prison riot in nearly three decades that left at least 27 people dead and 43 wounded, officials said.


Ishara S. Kodikara

A gunfight that broke out at Sri Lanka's largest prison has left at least 27 dead and 43 others injured, including a senior police officer.

It is the worst prison riot in the country in the last 30 years. 

The maximum security Welikada prison finally called in armed troops Friday night, after police were locked in a gun battle with inmates for hours, Agence France Presse reported

The clashes ignited after the Special Task Force (STF), Sri Lanka's elite police commandos, conducted a search for drugs and illegal mobile phones at the prison, Al Jazeera English reported

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"Police requested our assistance and we deployed troops at the Welikada prison," army spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said Saturday, the International News reported. "We have recovered a large quantity of weapons from prison wards and search operations are underway."

Many of the injured have been admitted to the hospital for treatment, including 13 STF personnel, four soldiers and one civilian bystander, according to the International News. 

Some of the prisoners had tried to escape during the fighting and were shot by security forces, according to AFP.