Three prison guards and a prisoner were killed yesterday (26) in an attack by an armed gang at Udugampola, prison sources said.
The Black Maria carrying the prisoners and guards came under attack at around 9.50 a.m. while on its way to the Negombo Court. The gang that opened fire on the prisons vehicle had fled the scene in a van after accomplishing their mission.
The deceased were identified as Prisons Overseer Wimalatunga Perera, guards Y.Amarasinghe, J.Niroshan and a prisoner named Ambegoda. One prison officer, who too received gunshot injuries, had been admitted to hospital, sources said.
The armed gang, believed to be connected to the underworld, had been targetting Hasitha, a remand prisoner suspected to have been involved in the the murder of a notorious criminal Kalu Mallee of Minuwangoda. However, Hasitha had escaped with only minor injuries, and undergone surgery at the Gampaha hospital yesterday, Gampaha police said.
A policeman was on guard duty in the Black Maria at the time of the incident buthe escaped injury.
Police said the armed gang had blocked the road, with their van at Udugampola, forcing the driver of the Black Maria to stop. They had fired at the Black Maria and fled. The van used by the gang was found abandoned at Ja-Ela.
Chief Jailor of the Negombo prison said the group of prisoners were taken out of the prison around 8.00 a.m. to be produced before the Gampaha and Udugampola courts and the shooting had taken place when the vehicle carrying prisoners was on its way to the Gampaha courts after leaving some prisoners at the Minuwangoda courts.
However, the driver of the Black Maria, Deepthi, had rushed the injured to the Gampaha hospital immediately after the shooting despite any danger he too might have to face on the way. Commissioner of Prisons Rumy Marzook said he had commended the driver for his bravery.