Sri Lankan officials said on Monday that riots broke out in a prison in the country, killing at least eight prisoners and injuring more than 50 people. At that time, prison guards were trying to calm a protest caused by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in prisons.
At least eight people have been killed in a Sri Lanka prison caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Reports said Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 cases have surged over the past month, and thousands more people have been reported in crowded prisons across the country. In recent weeks, inmates have launched protests to demand an increase in the number of coronavirus tests and the establishment of new isolation facilities for infected prisoners.
Family of prisoners outside the prison
The latest riot at Maharaja prison, a suburb of the capital city of Colombo, began on November 29, when some inmates protested to transfer prisoners infected with the novel coronavirus from other facilities to Maharajara prison. “We can’t say for sure, but most of the deaths and injuries seem to have been caused by shooting,” said Ajith Rohana, a senior police officer in Sri Lanka. In addition, hundreds of police officers have been deployed to assist prison guards and strengthen prison security.
Police outside the prison
Shelton Perera, director of Ragama Hospital, said that “most of the prisoners injured in the conflict in Mahara prison are in critical condition.” Inmates in the prison are currently receiving treatment in this hospital.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, Sri Lanka has reported a total of 22,988 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 109 deaths.