Guerrillas fought hand-to-hand with territorial police and South African troops Monday in some of the fiercest combat of the 23-year independence war, police and news reports said.

Police said at least 129 guerrillas and 18 policemen died in three days of fighting that broke out in Namibia just as the South African-controlled territory began a transition to independence monitored by the United Nations.The guerrillas said at least 48 civilians were killed.

Hundreds of civilians reportedly have fled their homes in northern Namibia to seek refuge at military bases and in the towns of Oshakati and Ongwediva, about 30 miles from the Angolan border and 350 miles north of Windhoek, the capital.

South Africa accused members of the South-West African People's Organization of violating a U.N. agreement by entering Namibia from Angola.