ASIA/THAILAND - Teachers and pupils in the south of the country targeted by rebels

Monday, 22 May 2017


Pattani (Agenzia Fides) - Every day, army jeeps escort Buddhist teachers to schools in the south of the Country, whose area is guarded by paramilitary groups and armed volunteers while children study and play. This tension has worsened since September 2016, when 700 pupils who were in their respective classes heard a major explosion killing a 4-year-old girl and her father in addition to several people who were injured in a territory where Muslim insurgents target schools and teachers. Since then, 185 teachers have died because of attacks by Muslim armed groups claiming the independence of the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, in the south of Thailand.
Data was released by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the organization has also stated that rebels believe that the educational system promoted by the Government is a symbol as well as a prime battle front of Thai State's occupation in the region. Violence, however, also affects teachers and Islamic schools, on the one hand, Muslim teachers who work with the State and on the other, security forces raid 'madrasses' in search of rebels.
Because of the conflict in the south of the Country, at least 6,700 people have died, mainly civilians since 2004. The Islamic state in what was Patani's old sultanate, composed of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, is the main recrimination of insurgents, denouncing oppression and discrimination by the Buddhist administration, the country's major religion. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 22/5/2017)