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AT LEAST 9 HURT IN FIGHT OVER CONTROL OF CASINO

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Fistfights escalated into gunfire over control of a casino that was supposed to bring in revenue and help improve conditions on a small reservation in northern California.

The struggle for control of the Pomo tribe casino on the Elem Indian Colony has left at least nine people injured during five days of violence. At least five people have been arrested.Lake County Sheriff Rodney Mitchell has asked that the tribe's two fighting factions meet with a mediator today. U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi said without elaborating that federal officials would intervene Friday with "respect to the tribe's casino."

A fight broke out Sunday on the reservation on the shores of Clearlake about 90 miles north of San Francisco. That was followed by an outbreak of gunfire that has continued sporadically for five days, said Rhoda Thomas, a tribal member reached at her home.

In an attempt to prevent any more gun battles, the county SWAT team was called in and surrounded the reservation, which considers itself a sovereign nation.

Many of the 100 residents have left the reservation, taking their children with them, Thomas said. Many of those remaining were holed up inside their houses, some of them armed.