Sri Lankan prisoners try to get a view of rioting inmates at Welikada prison in Colombo on November 9, 2012.

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The riot occurred at a prison located in the northern part of Colombo

The clashes started when authorities searched the prison for drugs

CNN  — 

A riot at a Sri Lankan prison left 27 dead and 43 injured, officials said.

Clashes broke out in the high-security prison in northern Colombo after special task force members began to check the prison for drugs, police said. Authorities used tear gas to try to quell the clashes, but prisoners were able to break through a wall and enter a prison armory.

Authorities also deployed armored vehicles to help bring the situation under control, said Gajadeera.

The riot will be investigated, said Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera.