School torched, security tightened in Thailand's restive south

UPDATED: 19:40, June 25, 2007

A school in the provincial seat of Yala, one of Thailand's three southernmost provinces, was torched early Monday, the latest arson attack in violence-torn region.

Thai News Agency reported that the arson destroyed two classrooms at the Bantaladlammai school, which has 80 students and eight teachers.

Police believed that it was the work of suspected insurgents, who broke into the school as security personnel were changing shifts during the night.

Combined police and military security for teachers was stepped up on Monday in the increasingly targeted education sector of the three southern provinces, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, with reinforcements being deployed to areas with higher occurrence of violence.

Two schools in Narathiwat's Rueso district remained closed Monday after the schools were torched on Saturday night. They are expected to reopen Wednesday.

Meanwhile on Monday, Basic Education Commission secretary-general Khunying Kasama Varavarn na Ayudhaya convened a meeting of school administrators in nearby province of Songkhla after six schools were torched last week in the province's Saba Yoi district.

The meeting discussed security measures for teachers and schools as the increasingly frequent attacks are having a serious affect on teachers' morale.

The six schools remain open but the number of students going to classes has dropped because parents fear for the safety of their children.

Source: Xinhua


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