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APIA, Samoa (January 18, 2001 – Radio Australia)---The widow of an assassinated Samoan cabinet minister has denied her political party was behind his death, and urged voters not to use the murder as an excuse to elect a change of government.

Minister of Public Works, Luagalau Levaula Kamu, was shot dead in July 1999 at a meeting to mark the 20th birthday of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party, also known as the HRPP.

Two former cabinet ministers were convicted of the murder.

Independent MP Sua Atonio raised Mr. Luagalau's death in Samoa's parliament, saying he did not die outside the circles of the HRPP but from inside the party.

But the dead minister's wife, Maiava Visekota, who is also a HRPP politician, told the Legislative Assembly it was wrong to blame the party for his death.

She said the government should not be made to lose the forthcoming election because of the assassination.

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

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