A "large-scale disturbance" involving about 2,000 Cuban refugees erupted at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., last night and from 25 to 100 refugees escaped, Air Force officials said.
The tent city "Camp Liberty" was calm a few hours later and most of the escapees had returned, officials said.
The trouble broke out after a dozen federal officials met with the refugees who were angry about delays in resettling them in new homes. Unsatisfied by the meeting, the Cubans headed for the gate after the meeting and tried to force their way out, an official said.
As military police tried to stop them, some refugees began throwing tent poles, cinder blocks and punches.
Meanwhile, there was an unexpected lull in the number of refugee boats arriving in Key West, Fla., yesterday and even more unexpected arrival -- in Galveston, Tex. -- of a refugee boat that overshot Key West by 1,000 miles.
By noon yesterday, only two boats carrying 264 Cubans had reached Key West, bringing the 34-day total for the boat lift to 73,069.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Miami said the boatload of 20 Cubans that landed in Galveston was bused yesterday to Fort Chaffee, Ark., to join other refugees.
Administration officials said the estimates of boats still in Mariel, Cuba, range from 300 to 600, so it is considered likely that at least another 15,000 exiles will be arriving in Key West this week.
At week's end 526 of the newcomers -- fewer than 1 percent -- were being detained because of serious criminal records, authorities said. Included was a man wanted for hijacking a plane from Florida to Cuba in 1964. Enrique Castillo Hernandez, 41, was arrested Thursday at Fort Chaffee after being identified from FBI fingerprint files.