Sri Lanka searches for prison escapees after deadly riot

November 14, 2012 - 6:28:13 am

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan authorities launched a search for five inmates after a roll call yesterday found they may have escaped from the country’s maximum security prison during a weekend riot that left 27 dead.

Prisons spokesman Gamini Kulatunga said the roll call showed that four convicts and a remand suspect were missing from the Welikada prison following rioting that lasted from Friday evening to early Saturday.

“We are looking for the five men who may have escaped during the clashes,” Kulatunga said. He did not give further details of the inmates.

Kulatunga said that normality had been restored at the prison where 4,000 inmates are being held.

However he also said that four weapons -- an assault rifle, a revolver, a pistol and a tear gas gun -- were missing from the prison armoury.

On Monday, police maintained that only one unnamed prisoner had escaped. Seven convicts tried to get away on Friday night, but were arrested almost immediately, according to police.

Another group of six convicts who tried to get away in a hijacked auto rickshaw taxi were shot dead by security forces just outside the prison gates.