Foiled prison break leaves inmate dead in Sri Lanka

Police say prison guards in Sri Lanka foiled an attempt by inmates to escape after they used ropes and bed sheets to scale down the wall, leaving at least one dead

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Prison guards in Sri Lanka foiled an attempt by inmates to escape on Sunday after they used ropes and bed sheets to scale down the wall, leaving at least one dead, police said.

Seven prisoners tried to flee the penitentiary in Mahara on the outskirts of the capital Colombo, the police spokesman's office said.

They were confronted by guards after scaling down the prison walls, leading to a scuffle during which the guards fired in the air, police said.

One inmate and two guards were injured and the inmate later died in a hospital, police said.

Sri Lankan prisons are highly congested with more than 26,000 inmates crowded in facilities with the capacity of 10,000.

In March, two inmates were killed and six others wounded when they fought with guards during a protest against new strict measures to control the spread of the coronavirus in prisons.

Last month, the government temporarily released on bail about 3,000 prisoners.