Prez tells Justice Minister to ensure no more breakouts from Kandakadu drug rehab centre

By Rathindra Kuruwita

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday asked Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse to take steps to ensure that incidents that allowed drug addicts to escape from the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre would not occur again. Some drug addicts undergoing rehabilitation at the centre escaped during a clash between two groups, on Sunday.

Wickremesinghe is on an official tour of Egypt.

Military Spokesman Brigadier Ravi Herath said that 299 escapees had surrendred by 3 pm yesterday. Around 50-100 inmates escaped on Sunday night, following a clash between two groups at the Centre. One group was from Colombo and the other group from Galle.

Some inmates attempted to break into the armoury at the Centre, but troops drove them away by firing into the air. The inmates then broke into the tool shed and used agricultural equipment to damage the property.

This is the second time that inmates have escaped from the rehabilitation facility this year. Several hundred inmates fled on 29 June, following a clash with service personnel overseeing them over the death of a recovering drug addict, allegedly under suspicious circumstances.

Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Maj. Gen. Darshana Hettiarachchi said a fight had broken out between two groups and that the police and Army had been called in to control the situation.

“Five people, including a soldier were injured during the clashes,” he said.

“Both sides threw rocks at each other. The situation was brought under control by noon yesterday. However, some inmates are still resisting.”

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