Immigrants Clash in Moorhead Fray

Joy Powell, Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul), December 19, 2010

At least 20 police officers responded to a melee in Moorhead, Minn., early Sunday that involved up to a dozen young African immigrants fighting not only with hands and feet, but also with a taser, knives, a replica handgun and a shovel.

More than 100 people looked on, many yelling, in the parking lot of a bowling alley on the city’s north side, police said.

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It was the latest eruption in ethnic tension in the Fargo-Moorhead area between young men from the two war-torn African countries of Sudan and Liberia, authorities said.

The hostilities worry cultural leaders in those communities, including Gibson Jerue, a 43-year-old Liberian immigrant from Fargo, N.D. He told of incidents dating to 2008, including one that sent a young Liberian man assaulted in Fargo to the hospital. In the past two months, there have been more incidents, including windows smashed or other damage to Liberian and Sudanese residences, Jerue said.

Now the violence has spread across the Red River to nearby Moorhead. Most, if not all, of those involved Sunday were from Fargo and had immigrated within the past decade, Moorhead Police Lt. Jim Nielsen said.

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