A shoot-out between rioting prisoners and security forces at a prison in Sri Lanka's capital has killed at least 27 inmates.

Police arrested at least six prisoners who managed to escape, but were yesterday still searching for others. Another 42 people were wounded in the shoot-out that resulted after the rioting prisoners briefly took control of at least part of the Welikada prison in Colombo.

Thirteen police officers, four soldiers, a prison guard and a passer-by also were being treated for injuries. Police declined to say how many inmates may have escaped.

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