At least 27 killed in gun battle between inmates, guards at Sri Lanka prison

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A shootout between security forces and prisoners at a jail in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo has left at least 27 people dead today. It is believed the fighting began when police went to Welikoda prison to conduct a search and were attacked by inmates hurling stones. It appears inmates managed to overpower their guards and seize their weapons before taking over part of the jail. Police said they arrested five prisoners who had managed to escape and were searching for others. The clash led to a stand-off between police and inmates who were pictured on top of the roof holding rifles. Some 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, AP has reported. Dozens of security officers then entered the prison and volleys of gunfire rang out and prisoners could be heard screaming: ‘Stop shooting!’ Army troops were called in later to help control the situation, which had returned to normal by Saturday morning. ‘The prison is now totally under our control,’ said Sri Lanka’s Commissioner General of Prisons P.W. Kodippili. He said security forces had found the bodies of 11 other inmates inside the prison premises, and that the total number of deaths stood at 27.