Over 600 inmates escaped a rehabilitation centre in Polonnaruwa in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday after a fight broke out between two prisoner groups, Xinhua News Agency reported citing the Sri Lankan police.
Police spokesman Nihan Thalduwa said, “Army soldiers and an additional police force have been deployed to the Kandakadu rehabilitation centre to bring the situation under control.” “A hunt has been launched for the escaped inmates,” he added.
There were around 1,000 detainees in the prison. The police said that after the incident, the remaining detainees tried to block the army and police from entering the premises. However, the police took the situation under control, Xinhua reported.
The police have been deployed around the incident spot and the area around the rehabilitation centre has been cordoned off.
Meanwhile, fuel shortage continues to grip Sri Lanka as the country struggles with the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.
This has led to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the island nation.
The nearly-bankrupt country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, had announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026. Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt.
The economic crisis has particularly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40 – 50 per cent lower than last year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with seeds, fertilizers, fuel and credit shortages.
Sri Lanka is one of the few nations named by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is expected to go without food due to the global food shortage expected this year.