Narathiwat classes cancelled after teacher shot dead
Twenty-one schools in Narathiwat's Bacho district shut their doors on Thursday after a teacher was shot dead in the canteen of Ban Tanyong school by insurgents on Wednesday.
- Published: 24/01/2013 at 04:35 PM
- Newspaper section: news
The Educational Service Office, which oversees the district, said 21 out of 27 schools, including Ban Tanyong, closed their classroom doors on Thursday and will not reopen until Monday.
The closure followed the death of Chonlathee Charoenchol, a 51-year-old Muslim teacher, who was shot in front of his colleagues and students in the school's canteen. The killers also made off with his bronze Nissan sedan.
Killing a Muslim teacher is rare in the deep South. Chonlathee was the 158th teacher slain in the region since the insurgency erupted afresh in January 2004 and the first teacher killed this year. Nearly all the murdered teachers were Buddhists.
Reports said both teachers and students in the southern province have lost all morale and have no confidence in the security measures provided for them.
Col Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command's front office in the far South, apologised to the murdered teacher's family, exprerssing regret that the killers had been able to strike in spite of the security provided by the authorities and volunteers.
Ban Tanyong School is under the protection of village volunteers as it not deemed to be in a risk area. Soldiers and police are deployed to schools considered at high risk in the troubled region.
Pol Col Pakdi Preechachon, chief of the Bacho district police station, said a general alert had been issued in the three southernmost border provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala to keep a close watch for a stolen Nissan with the licence plate Gor Kor 1109 Yala (กข 1109 ยะลา), which could be used for a car bomb.
ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat (Photo by Chanaat Katanyu)
Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said in Bangkok that the army still had confidence in the security measures provided for teachers and will not stiffen them in the wake of the murder at Ban Tanyong school.
ACM Sukumpol said police are questioning all teachers in Ban Tanyong in their search for evidence leading to the killers.
He asked local people to help by being being the eyes and ears for authorities in keeping teachers away from being targets of the insurgents.
"The Education Ministry will decide if it wants border police to fill in as teachers in the South, but the army is ready to help upon request," the minister said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who is in charge of security affairs, said he supported the idea that police officers stand in for teachers in the region.
"I'll propose the idea of getting border police to fill in as teachers in high risk areas of the far South," Mr Chalerm said before attending a parliamentary meeting.
He said the border police could help look after the teachers to a certain level and this would not affect the civil servants who work as teachers in the area.
Six thousand additional police will be deployed to the southern border provinces, he added.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged authorities in the far South to seal security loopholes to ensure the safety of teachers risking their lives in the region.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
- Position: Online Reporters