The death toll from the riot at the Sri Lankan Welikada prison rose to 27 today with around 40 injured.

The Sri Lankan Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera told parliament that 11 bodies were found in the prison premises today.

Gajadeera told that most of the weapons stolen from the prison had been recovered. He said in all 250 rifles, 90 pistols had been stolen by the prisoners during the riot.

The Colombo National hospital said that 16 bodies were at the hospital as of this morning.

Prisons Commissioner P.W.Kodippili told the Colombo media that the situation in the prison was brought under control with the help of the army.

He said that army deserters and underworld members were involved in the riot.

The Prisons Commissioner said that a few of those who had managed to escape prom the prison during the riot were also arrested.

An investigation has been launched over the prison riot by a special committee, the Prisons Commissioner said.

He said that all the inmates of ‘Hall L’ from where the riot broke out when the prison guards and STF attempted to search the premises, were now back in their cells.

Meanwhile, the 33 Indian convicts and the five remand prisoners in Welikada prison  were safe, the Indian High Commission said on Saturday morning. Clashes  between security personnel and prisoners inside claimed over 15 lives  since last evening.

“The High Commission has been constantly monitoring the situation since  the time the clashes broke out. The Sri Lankan authorities have told us  that the Indian prisoners are safe,” High Commissioner of India to Sri  Lanka Ashok K Kantha, told.

The Indian High Commission has sought consular access to the prisoners,  but this demand has not been acceded to. “We are in touch [with the Sri  Lankan officials.] We want to individually ascertain that the prisoners  are safe. Hence we have sought access to the prisoners,” Mr.Kantha said.

Many anxious relatives have been crowding in areas close to the prison  to get information of their kith and kin. But prison officials have  reportedly told them that they will be able to comment on individual  cases only later. Some relatives were also at the National Hospital,  trying to figure out if their near and dear are among the injured.

 

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