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Prison shootout, 11 dead, 24 wounded

At least 11 inmates of a Sri Lankan prison were killed in a shootout Friday with security forces and 24 were wounded, a doctor said, as rioting prisoners appeared to take control of at least part of the facility.

Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said the fighting began when police commandos went to Welikada prison in the capital, Colombo, to conduct a search and were attacked by inmates hurling stones. He declined to provide more information. Officials often conduct raids for narcotics and communication devices.

An Associated Press photographer saw prisoners waving rifles atop the roof Friday night.

Other prisoners piled into a three-wheeled vehicle and began driving toward a main city road before security forces outside the prison opened fire. The vehicle stopped, and three unmoving bodies could be seen.

Dozens of security officers then entered the prison, and volleys of gunfire rang out.

Prisoners could be heard screaming, "Stop shooting!"

Army troops later were called in to help control the situation.

Dr. Prasad Kariyawasam said 10 bodies and 12 wounded inmates were brought to Colombo National Hospital in Sri Lanka's capital. He said one of the injured died at the hospital. He did not immediately comment on the condition of others wounded.

____

The Canadian Press


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