'Dozen dead ' following Colombo jail clash

A shootout between security forces and prisoners in a jail in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo has left at least 12 people dead, a doctor says.

Dr Prasad Kariyawasam of Colombo National Hospital said he could not immediately comment on the condition of the wounded.

Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said the fighting began when police commandos went to Welikoda prison to conduct a search and were attacked by inmates hurling stones.

An Associated Press photographer outside the building saw prisoners waving rifles on top of the roof.

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.

Dozens of security officers then entered the prison and volleys of gunfire rang out.

Prisoners could be heard screaming: “Stop shooting!”

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