Twenty-one schools in Narathiwat's Bajoh district were temporarily closed on Thursday after a teacher was shot dead in front of students at Ban Tanyong School in the district on Wednesday.
The schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday. Chonthee Charoenchon, 51, was shot in the head twice in the school's canteen, which was crowded with almost 300 students, by one of four suspected insurgents who had arrived on two motorcycles. Police said the suspects posed as parents of students.
Chonthee's keys were snatched from his belt and the attackers made off with the teacher's Nissan sedan.
The schools were closed as teachers, students and parents have no more confidence in the security measures. The body of the teacher, the 158 th teacher gunned down in the south, was buried yesterday.
Police said they would question teachers at the scene to get an idea of the identities of the suspects and make sketches to compare with those of criminals in police files.
Meanwhile Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat described yesterday’s killing of Chonthee as another blow to education in the region but stood firm in his belief that the existing security measures for educators need no adjustment.
Sukumpol said the victim was a ThaiMuslim and that the school is run according to the Muslim system with security provided by other agencies, not the military.
It has been a long time since the last Muslim Thai teacher was killed, he said, calling on southerners to join hands in antiinsurgency activities.
He said the armed forces are ready to assign military personnel to help teach children if asked by the Education Ministry.