1 inmate dead, 3 wounded in Sri Lanka prison riot

Officials say at least one inmate has been killed and three others injured when inmates clashed with prison officers Sunday at a facility on the outskirt of the capital Colombo

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — At least one inmate was killed and three others injured on Sunday when inmates clashed with the prison officers at a facility on the outskirt of the capital Colombo, officials said.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said inmates created “unrest” on Sunday at the Mahara prison located about 15 kilometers north of Colombo and prison officials took steps to control the situation.

In the ensuing commotion, one inmate died and three others have been hospitalized, he said, adding that additional police teams have been deployed to help the the prison officers.

He said police will launch an investigation on the incident.

Sunday’s incident comes as pandemic-related unrests have been growing in Sri Lanka’s overcrowded prisons. Inmates have staged protests in recent weeks in several prisons as the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases surge in the overcrowded facilities.

In a similar unrest last week, an inmate was killed. Another died in March.

The latest unrest comes as more than a thousand inmates from five prisons have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. About 50 prison officers have also tested positive. At least two inmates have died due to COVID-19.

Sri Lankan prisons are highly congested with more than 26,000 inmates crowded in facilities with the capacity of 10,000.

Sri Lanka has seen a fresh outbreak of the disease since last month when two clusters — one centered on a garment factory and other on the fish market — emerged in the capital Colombo and its suburbs.

The confirmed cases from the two clusters have grown into 19,449 as of Sunday. Sri Lanka’s total number of confirmed cases since March reached 22,988 on Sunday with 109 fatalities.