As violence continues in Thailand’s southern border region, security personnel are the most vulnerable targets of insurgent attacks. Like their male counterparts, female paramilitary rangers are no exception. Despite life-threats around the clock, they have strong determination to stay in the insurgency-torn areas to protect people’s lives.
Private First Class Anastasia Duemalee from Ranger Forces Regiment 44 was shot dead May 19. The victim’s mother Mohyae Ahsae was wounded in the incident, along with her 9-year-old and 11-year-old grandchildren, who lost their mother in the attack.
All three victims remain in hospital. Mourning the death of her daughter, Mrs Mohyae said it is difficult for her to get over it as Ms Anastasia is her only daughter and the family’s breadwinner.
“I pray that my daughter rest in peace. Now I’m worried that our family will not be able to feed ourselves,” said Mrs Mohyae.
In soldier Anastasia’s bedroom, a picture and message on her wall boosting her spirit to be strong and patient speaks volumes. She is among a hundred colleagues who volunteered to do the dangerous job with bravery.
Despite the tragic death of their fellow ranger, knowing that one day it may be their turn, women rangers in the deep South still perform duties at their best as usual.
“Soldiers and other state officials who station in the deep South have shown us their courage and determination. So we will not be disheartened. If we feel so, how do the people who have hope on us live their lives?,” Private first class Jirarak Makla-iad, the viictim’s close friend said.
“Once we choose to be a soldier, fear is not in our mind. We work with our strong determination and willingness although we all know well that we may not return in one piece,” said female paramilitary ranger Sorada Madtohpan.
Other two female rangers from afar and voluntarily moved to station in the violence-plagued provinces said they are not scared with the attacks as they already made up their mind to protect the country.
“Although we are only a small part of the society, we still want to do something for the country at our full capacity,” said Savitree Boonchoo, female paramilitary ranger from Sukhothai.
“The area I am stationed is the red zone. But I still want to come here as I want to see peace. I want Thai people to love each other and I don’t want to lose the southernmost part of the country,” female paramilitary ranger from Khon Kaen Somjatewadee Rungsaeng said.
Although Private First Class Anastasia is not there to work with her team anymore, her staff and other women rangers in far South still have strong spirit with the only wish for the country, that is….that peace will return.