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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 27, 2001 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---A teacher was shot dead by his Grade 5 student in Tari, Southern Highlands province, after questioning the student about his absence from the Catholic Church-run community school.

This is the second shooting death of a teacher in the Tari area of Papua New Guinea in the space of three months.

The National Catholic Education Secretary, Matthew Kalabai, condemned the killing.

"You only hear such stories in the United States but now it is happening in PNG," Mr. Kalabai said. "The National Catholic Education Secretariat is calling on authorities in the province, especially law enforcing agencies, to come down hard on people who have little respect for human life."

The Catholic education secretary of Mendi diocese, Joe Sui, yesterday named the dead teacher as Ignatius Ayale, who was teaching at the Poroni community school.

Mr. Sui said Mr. Ayale was interviewing a student on Monday about his prolonged absence from school when the student pulled out a bush knife from his trousers and swung it, chopping off four of Mr. Ayale's fingers.

The student then fled to his village. Mr. Ayale followed to discuss the incident with the student and his parents.

Mr. Sui said that when he arrived at the student's house, the student came out with a gun and shot him dead.

Mendi police could not be reached last night to confirm the killing.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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