Sri Lanka jail riot leaves inmates and guards injured

Clashes between inmates and guards at a prison in Sri Lanka left at least 31 people injured on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Soldiers were able to restore control after five hours of chaos at the prison in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Prisoners set fire to the records room and gunshots were heard from within the compound, the AP reported. Police fired tear gas before regaining order at the prison.

Most of those injured were prisoners, who were shot by guards, and police have denied any claims that three inmates were killed, the BBC reported. Several buildings in the remand wing of the prison were set on fire during the riot.

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The riot broke out because prisoners said they wanted better food and conditions. However, police said inmates have been angry because there were move to curb drug smuggling, police spokesman Ajith Rohana told the AP. He didn’t describe the new anti-drug measures.

A nearby resident told the AP that disturbances had been going on at the prison for the last few days since authorities banned food brought by relatives to the inmates.

Smoke filled the air surrounding the prison as prisoners stood on the rooftop, shouting slogans and holding a banner demanding the removal of the prison chief. The head of prison did admit the standards of living for prisoners did fall short of acceptable, the BBC reported.

Most of the injured prisoners suffered gunshot wounds and three officers were hit by stones, one had a broken leg, according to Colombo National Hospital’s Dr. Prasad Ariyawansa, the BBC reported. He added none of the injuries were life threatening.

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