ARSON, FIREARMS SHATTER NIUE PEACE

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Four face assault charges

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, ) – Police in Niue are hoping tensions will ease in the village of Hikutavake as people charged over recent disturbances are processed by the courts.

On election night a house belonging to a local member of parliament’s son was burnt down and police are treating it as arson.

Earlier four men had been arrested at an adjacent property and will face assault charges.

A week after the poll armed police seized weapons from an intoxicated man who’d fired a shotgun in the village.

Police Chief, Mark Chenery, says it’s likely the incidents are connected.

"I think it’s fair to say, yes they are related, that there’s a bit of ongoing tension within the village. And certainly police are doing their very best to try and keep a lid on these, as are some of the members of the Hikutavake community. Now I’m hoping that now that this incident has occurred and this person’s been dealt with by the local court, matters will start to settle down."

One man pleaded guilty and has been banned from using firearms for three years, while the four facing assault charges are due in Niue’s High Court on Monday.

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