Six inmates were killed and 35 injured as guards opened fire during a Sri Lankan prison riot on Sunday, officials said.

The prisoners created “unrest” and tried to take control of Mahara prison, located about 10 miles from the country’s capital of Colombo, according to police spokesman Ajith Rohana.

Rohana said the unrest devolved into “a prison riot” with inmates also trying to escape. Guards attempting to control the situation eventually opened fire, said Rohana.

Two guards were also critically injured in the riot.

Mahara is one of several Sri Lankan prisons in recent weeks to experience pandemic-related unrest as COVID-19 cases surge in the facilities.

Over 1,000 inmates in five prisons in the country have tested positive for coronavirus, and at least two have died from the illness.

Roughly 50 prison guards have tested positive for the bug.

Sri Lankan prisons are severely overcrowded with more than 26,000 inmates packed into facilities with a capacity of 10,000.

With Post wires

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