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Sunday, 2 January, 2000, 23:48 GMT
Eight dead in Egyptian communal row

The Egyptian Interior Ministry says eight people have been killed in a renewed outbreak of violence between Muslims and Coptic Christians in the south of the country.

The bishop of the local Coptic diocese in Upper Nile state, Bishop Wissa, said at least sixteen people, all Christians, had died in the clashes.

The Interior Ministry said the killings took place during a shoot-out between opposing residents in the village of Kosheh, where inter-communal fighting broke out last week during a financial dispute between Muslim and Coptic businessmen.

Security officers said up to three-thousand Moslems looted and burnt ten Coptic Christian-owned shops in the nearby town of Dar-El-Salaam. A church and shops are reported to have been burnt in a third village, Awlad Toq.

A curfew has been imposed in the region.

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