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South Thailand schools reopen amid tight security

Publication Date : 02-11-2012


The new school semester kicked off in Thailand's southernmost provinces yesterday amid tight security.

At least five Army Rangers were stationed in front of a local school in Yala's Muang district to prevent violent incidents, as unrest continues in the deep south.

Since the latest wave of violence erupted in the southern border provinces nearly a decade ago, at least 154 teachers have been killed.

The high number of casualties and frequent arson attacks on schools have hurt the morale of local teachers and students. Attacks on the first day of the semester are common, and security agencies did their best yesterday to ensure that the start of the semester went smoothly.

"We feel safe with the security officials' presence," Ban Ta Sap School's director Wanpen sae Tae said yesterday, adding that 80 per cent of students showed up for class yesterday.

She expected the growing sense of security to persuade all students to show up by Monday.

In Narathiwat, police, soldiers and administrative officials were seen accompanying teachers to schools and watching over parents bringing their children to school yesterday morning.

Police and soldiers also manned checkpoints along major and secondary roads.

Meanwhile, a police investigator disclosed that an assault rifle seized during a police raid in Yala's Raman district on Wednesday belonged to a police sergeant who was killed in an ambush in this deep South province in July.

The raid resulted in the deaths of two suspected insurgents, Mana Masaejuenarong, 35, and Usaman Waree, 26, while two policemen were wounded. Police seized the M4 rifle and two 9mm handguns from the scene.

The source said the rifle, bearing the number A 0249726, belonged to Pol Sergeant Wichanon Nampakdee, one of five policemen killed in an attack while patrolling in Tambon Wangpaya, Raman district on July 25.

Mana was a Narathiwat native with outstanding arrest warrants issued in security cases.

He was alleged to have been involved in many insurgent attacks, including the killing of three Army Rangers, and wounding a number of soldiers in shooting attacks.

Wednesday's raid took place after officials received a tip-off that Mana was hiding in Raman district and plotting a new attack.

After an hour of gunfire between officials and insurgents at an unnumbered house in rural Raman, Abdulrorse Dengsamae, 56, surrendered to police.


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