Twenty-six inmates injured in Mahara Prison riot test COVID-19 positive

Twenty-six inmates injured in Mahara Prison riot test COVID-19 positive

November 30, 2020   05:31 pm


Twenty-six inmates admitted to the Ragama Hospital following the unrest at the Mahara Prison have tested positive for COVID-19.

Rapid antigen tests have been carried out on 48 of the 71 inmates admitted to the hospital over injuries, according to Deputy Director of Ragama Hospital Dr. Sarath Premasiri.

Meanwhile, 10 among the 71 injured inmates are in critical condition, he added.

A tense situation had occurred at the Mahara Prison last evening (29) when a group of inmates had attempted to break out from prison following a conflict with prison officials.

Prison authorities had opened fire to control the situation and a team of Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel was deployed to assist prison authorities.

Subsequently, a massive fire had broken out at the prison when several inmates set fire to the health office, a storage area, and several other places within the prison.
The fire had raged on until 3 am this morning and was later completely extinguished with help of 06 fire trucks.

Two prison officials held hostage by prison inmates have been rescued. However, the condition of one of the prison officials who was rescued after being held hostage is reportedly critical.

The death toll from the incident currently stands at 08 with all deceased identified as inmates.

Commissioner-General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya said the situation has now been brought under control. 

Pandemic-related unrest has been growing in the country’s prisons. Inmates have staged protests in recent weeks at several prisons as the number of coronavirus cases surges in the facilities.

More than a thousand inmates in five prisons have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least two have died. About 50 prison guards have also tested positive.

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