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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 6, 1999 - Radio Australia)---The Papua New Guinea government has released another 71 prisoners from 14 jails around the country.

The Attorney General's department described the freed former inmates as minor offenders, but one is believed to be a convicted murderer with a serious heart problem.

The criminals are the second group to be given their freedom. On Christmas Day, 115 prisoners were released.

PNG Prime Minister Bill Skate said they were freed because it was too expensive to feed them and because of overcrowding caused by the closure for health reasons of three provincial jails.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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