Insurgents shoot dead Thai teacher in front of his students

Featured Regional South East Asia - January 24th, 2013

Thai insurgents shot dead a teacher in front of dozens of students in a school cafeteria, the latest in a spate of deadly attacks against education workers in the country’s Muslim-majority region.

Two insurgents shot Cholathee Charoenchol, a 51-year old Muslim, in the head at the cafeteria of the Tanyong school in Bacho district in Narathiwat province on Wednesday as at least 30 pupils and several teachers looked on, police said.

He was the 158th education worker targeted by militants who view the school system as the government’s effort to impose Buddhist culture on the Muslim-majority region in the country’s far south, near the border with Malaysia, AFP reports.

Nearly daily attacks – including shootings, bombings and even beheadings – have grappled the region during the nine-year old insurgency, killing more than 5,300 Buddhist and Muslims since 2004.

Hundreds of schools closed down in December in protest of the lack of security for education workers in the deep southern region. The government pledged to ramp up security for teachers and other school staff.