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CLASHES BETWEEN SENEGAL AND GUINEA BISSAU DISPLACE THOUSANDS

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BISSAU/ZIGUINCHOR, Mar. 20 (GIN) - Guinea-Bissau is getting involved in fighting among rival factions of Senegal's Casamance rebellion, leading to fears the long simmering, low-level conflict, could ignite o­n a new front.

Rocket launchers, machine guns, mortar fire and shelling have been heard since early this week in the porous border region between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, especially near the Bissau town of Sao Domingos. Guinea-Bissau lies south of Senegal o­n the coastal edge of West Africa.

Rebels, fighting for the independence of Casamance since the early 1980s, signed a peace deal with the Senegalese in 2004, but at least o­ne rebel faction rejected the terms of the deal. Now the newly-re-elected president of Guinea, is said to be weighing in with support for o­ne of the rebel factions.

Over the weekend, more than 4,500 people fled from homes in the conflict region, humanitarian officials said o­n Monday.

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