25,000 flee sectarian clashes in northeast India

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About 25,000 villagers have fled their homes in northeast India during clashes between Bodo tribal groups and Muslim settlers in which 15 people have been killed, police said Monday. Soldiers were also out in force in the restive state of Assam in an effort to quell further violence that has led to many villagers moving to nearby government shelters to avoid the fighting over land rights. “Clashes that broke out on Friday night have so far claimed the lives of 15 people and about 12 (were) injured,” S.N. Singh, Assam inspector general of police, told AFP by telephone. “The situation is tense and hence tight security measures are being taken to instil confidence and restore normal life in the area. About 25,000 people have gone to government-run shelters.” The fighting, the latest outbreak of violence over long-running territorial disputes between the Bodo and Muslim settlers, erupted in western regions of Assam close to the borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh.