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ALOFI, Niue (September 1, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Niue's Justice Minister Robert Matua Rex is encouraging construction of a new maximum security prison to replace its unfenced jail.

Following last week's shooting death on the jail grounds, about two kilometers (1.2 miles) from Niue's capital, Alofi, Mr. Rex met with key government officials to discuss prison and gun control options.

Noting there was a two-year period during which the jail had no prisoners, he said a new structure would need no more than three cells to house inmates.

The minister's meeting with senior government officials followed the shotgun slaying of a 41-year-old inmate, the second gun-related homicide in 10 months on the normally tranquil island.

A prison guard has been charged with murder and now is in custody awaiting trial, which is scheduled to begin September 24.

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

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