Sri Lanka Deaths Draw Questions

Sri Lanka Deaths Draw Questions

Published: November 14, 2012 (Issue # 1735)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s opposition Sunday demanded a thorough investigation into a prison shootout that killed 27 inmates.

Tissa Attanayake, a leader of United National Party, said that clashes inside prisons have become frequent in Sri Lanka and their causes must be examined. The opposition says such incidents damage the country’s reputation internationally.

Twenty-seven prisoners were killed after Friday’s clash when police commandos tried to search the Welikada Prison facility in Colombo for narcotics. At least 42 others were wounded, including police commandos and soldiers who were brought in as reinforcement to quell the unrest.

Another Marxist opposition party, People’s Liberation Front, blamed the government for the use of armed soldiers and police commandos for the search.

“Deploying military personnel in civilian affairs as well as improvidently using them in prisons for inspections would bring dire results,” the party said in a statement.

Officials said the clash erupted when prisoners attacked the search team and armed themselves by breaking into the armory.

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