Army chief warns wrongdoers in Thailand’s South

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PATTANI, April 25 – The arrest of a Muslim kindergarten teacher in this southern province was due to her suspected involvement in the Jan 24 bombing of a ranger outpost here, the Thai army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said today.

He said the female teacher was questioned after the authorities found that her mobile phone number has been used to detonate the bomb.

Fatimoh Sohman, 23, a tadika or kindergarten teacher, has been detained in connection with the blast, compelling a group of Muslim students to press for the army’s assurance on justice for her.

Gen Prayuth said the teacher was interrogated for allegedly supporting the insurgency movement in the South.

“Avoid violating the law if you don’t want to be questioned. It’s not right to get involved in wrongdoing and put pressure (on the authorities) for release,” he said sternly.

The army chief made a trip to the southern province today to boost the morale of government officials and meet with community leaders.

His visit is just three days before the 9th anniversary of the Krue Se incident in which 32 suspected Muslim insurgents who took refuge in the mosque were killed after a seven-hour siege by Thai government soldiers. The incident took place on April 28, 2004.

A growing sense of anxiety has arisen and the authorities have been instructed to be on full alert.

The army chief said he is always concerned by the southern unrest, and not only during the Krue Se anniversary nervousness.