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Inmates, guards clash in Sri Lanka prison, 28 hurt

Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Inmates and guards clashed at a Sri Lankan prison Tuesday, injuring at least 28 people before soldiers restored control after five hours, officials said.

Reporters outside heard gunshots from within the compound in Colombo, and police fired tear gas before order was restored. Prisoners also set fire to the records room.

The inmates were protesting a move to curtail drug smuggling into the prison, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. He said 24 prisoners and four guards were hurt.

Rohana did not describe the anti-drug measures, but a man who lives near the prison who gave only his first name, Kumara, said there had been disturbances for several days after authorities banned food brought by relatives for the inmates.

Some prisoners were seen on the roof shouting slogans and holding a banner demanding the removal of the prison chief. Some threw stones at vehicles on a nearby main road, forcing police to close the road.

Dr. Prasad Ariyawansa of Colombo National Hospital said most of the injured prisoners had gunshot wounds. Three officers were hit by stones and another had a broken leg, he said, adding that the injuries were not life threatening.

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