Defence minister says government must go ‘on offensive’ for southern teachers’ safety


BANGKOK, Dec 18 – Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat admitted today that providing 24-hour security for teachers in Thailand’s far South is a defensive measure but the government is working on a proactive strategy to cope with the escalating violence.

He refused to disclose details of the proactive plan, but said he would make an inspection trip to the South next week.

There has been no violence in the area under the authorities’ surveillance, he said, but problems remain in the non-protected zones.

The minister said his trip to the South was meant to boost the authorities’ morale, especially as the New Year’s holiday is approaching.

Many state primary schools in three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat reopened Monday after being closed for several days of closure. Teachers have feared for their safety following a series of shootings, many of them fatal, against their colleagues in the past several weeks.