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Niue church still closed following lockout

The Protestant church in the Niue village of Hikutavake remains closed after the congregation was recently locked out by the local Member of Parliament.

It is the latest in a series of controversies in the village where last year several buildings were burned down.

Beverley Tse reports.

“In the latest incident, the Ekalesia Niue congregation has been barred from entering the church after MP Opili Talafasi allegedly locked the doors. Hikutavake has experienced a string of arson attacks and a shooting incident since the general elections in May last year. On the night of the elections, a house belonging to the son of the re-elected MP was destroyed by fire. This was followed by three more fires in December, involving a residential property, a bar and a village hall. The executive board of Ekalesia Niue is now interviewing the families involved in the recent lockout to find out more details. Some of the congregation are threatening legal action to have the church re-opened.”