At least four prisoners have been killed and nine others wounded, including two guards, after an attempted mass escape at a prison in the southern Dominican Republic, officials said.

Guards opened fire on inmates at the Najayo jail in San Cristobal, about 35km south of Santo Domingo on Friday, after the prison was attacked by armed men in a black SUV, according to law enforcement and prison officials in the Caribbean nation.

No prisoners managed to escape, prison officials said. The injured were rushed to a local hospital, some in serious condition, according to a hospital source.

Attorney General Francisco Domínguez Brito visited the scene where relatives of inmates also gathered.

The Najayo prison houses about 2,000 inmates, including a number of foreigners, mostly for drug trafficking.

It is also one of a number of model prisons, part of an overhaul of the country's penitentiary system promoting education and more humane living conditions, staffed by specially trained graduates from a newly created penitentiary academy.

Earlier this year, a riot in another prison managed by the model system left two people dead and several wounded.

Source: Reuters