School's teachers want out after slaying
Half of the teachers at Ban Tanyong school in Narathiwat submitted official transfer requests after one of their colleagues was killed on Wednesday.
- Published: 29/01/2013 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The academy in Bacho district is among 378 schools in Narathiwat which resumed classes yesterday after closing last week in the wake of the murder of Chonlathee Charoenchol.
Chonlathee was shot dead during lunch at the school canteen.
He was the 158th teacher to be killed in the far South since an Islamist insurgency in the region flared up in January 2004. Only half of Ban Tanyong school's 14 teachers turned up yesterday.
Teacher Yainung Torae said the seven who did not show up had asked to transfer out of the area. "We must not be discouraged. Even though the number of teachers will fall, we are ready to take care of students," she said.
The transfer requests, however, were put on hold by Attasit Ratanakaew, chief of Narathiwat Primary Educational Service Area Office 1, who is attempting to convince the teachers to stay at least until the end of the semester.
Security was tight at the schools that reopened yesterday, with helicopters hovering above to observe the situation.
Army commander-in-chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday called on teachers to cooperate with authorities to make teachers in the area safer.
Gen Prayuth yesterday travelled to Narathiwat to meet military commanders at Chulabhorn Camp to receive first-hand information about the measures being taken to protect teachers in the far South.
Gen Prayuth told the commanders that all security officers _ soldiers, police and defence volunteers _ must work together to protect teachers.
He said the teachers must not leave designated areas for their own safety, even if being penned in this way makes them uncomfortable.
"The plan [to protect teachers] is clear but the problem is putting it into practice. Both security officers and teachers must stick to the plan, or their safety cannot be guaranteed," he said.
Meanwhile, six locations were raided by 50 combined security forces officers in tambon Ba Rae Tai of Bacho early yesterday in the search for four suspects in Chonlathee's murder.
The raid took place after police received information from Abdulbasik Pidorlor, 20, and Aropa Abulong, 24, two suspects arrested on Thursday for alleged involvement in the gang responsible for killing the teacher.
The duo allegedly told police they only kept an eye on the officers outside the attacked school, helping their accomplices get inside the compound to kill Chonlathee.
Maroreekasae Kawae, the mastermind of the killing, narrowly escaped before the raid, officers said.
Meanwhile, 17 surveillance cameras in Pattani were torched yesterday, while a bomb exploded on a local road.
Ten cameras were torched in Pattani's Mayo district around 4.50am.
Two others were set alight in Panare district and five more in Thung Yang Daeng district.
Police were also alerted to a blast at a road close to Ban Bra Ngae bridge in tambon Nam Dam about 9am, said Pol Col Kowit Rattanachote, chief of Thung Yang Daeng police station.
A bomb crater 3m wide and 1m deep was found in the road with debris from an explosive device and a fire extinguisher scattered nearby.
No one was injured by the bomb.
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- Writer: Waedao Harai, Wassana Nanuam & Abdulloh Benjakat