Mass escape at Kandakadu rehab centre

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At least 600 inmates from the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Welikanda escaped following a tense situation sparked by the death of an inmate on 28 June, Police said.

Director of Rehabilitation/Post Rehabilitation Assistant Branch, Brigadier Priyankara Vidanagamage, said there had been a disagreement between the instructors and consultants after the inmates were questioned when the centre’s officers found tobacco on one of the inmates.

The inmate who was in possession of tobacco died the next morning, according to Brigadier Vidanagamage.

“Normally, we do not allow inmates to use tobacco. However, following the incident, other inmates who were not handcuffed and were allowed free to roam inside the centre escaped after a tense situation. We calculated it to be around 400,” he said.

More than 230 inmates had been captured and turned over to the Police at the time the paper went to print. He said that investigations are being conducted by the Army and the Police.

Brigadier Vidanagamage, speaking about the death, said the Judicial Medical Officer has arrived at the scene and is conducting a post-mortem.

“We will be able to know the cause of death after we receive the report and identify those who aided and abetted in the death of the inmate, and once we find that out, we will not hesitate to take stern action against them,” he said.

A large number of inmates reportedly broke through the two main entrance gates and escaped from the centre around 8 a.m. yesterday (29). Police and Army launched a joint operation to apprehend the escapees.

By Thameenah Razeek