Students in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand went back to school on Monday. However, this wasn’t an ordinary return after the holidays. The schools had been closed after a brutal killing by insurgents in a school in Pattani Province. Not surprisingly, classes were quiet as few teachers and students turned up out of fear of further insurgent attacks. This is what Human Rights Watch had to say:
In the most recent attack, on December 11, 2012, ethnic Malay Muslim insurgents entered a school in Pattani province at lunch hour and summarily executed two ethnic Thai Buddhist teachers. During the past six weeks, insurgents have killed three other teachers and wounded another three. Suspected insurgents set at least one school on fire.
It’s sad to see a picture such as this which shows young students being escorted by an armed guard. Other pictures in the newspapers today showed soldiers in front of schools as students and teachers arrived for morning lessons. But, these attacks are not isoloated incidents. According to HRW, at least 157 teachers and school personnel have died in the three southern Thai provinces since January 2004.
For more background information on what’s going on in Southern Thailand at the moment, read these articles: