Inmates are seen at the Mogadishu central cell in Mogadishu, Somalia July 20, 2019. Picture taken July 20, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal…
Inmates are seen at the Mogadishu central cell in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 20, 2019.

Somali security forces have shot dead four armed inmates after a fierce gun battle in Mogadishu’s central prison, security officials told VOA Somali. Three prison guards were also killed in Monday’s incident, officials confirmed.

The inmates, all members of Islamist militant group al-Shabab, had obtained three pistols and six hand grenades smuggled into the prison, a senior security official told VOA. The inmates attacked guards, sparking the confrontation.

Two other inmates suspected of involvement were wounded and apprehended, according to officials. One inmate is believed to have escaped the facility.

Officials said they believe the escapee killed the driver of a rickshaw and another civilian outside the prison.

The gunfire started in the section where inmates serving a life sentence are held, according to the official.

The security official said it is believed the weapons were hidden in food and other items smuggled into the prison when inmates receive visits twice a week.

An inmate held in a different part of the prison who was interviewed by a local radio said the shooting started during change of shift by the guards.

The central prison is located next to Mogadishu’s seaport and is heavily guarded. Dozens of al-Shabab inmates are held at the facility, including some who are on death row.