Over 200 teachers demand transfers out of deep South

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YALA, 15 February 2013  According to an educational body in the southernmost provinces, over 200 teachers have applied for transfers out of the restive region following a series of deadly clashes with the latest incident occurring in Narathiwat this week. 

Around 30 militants attacked a marine base in Bacho district, Narathiwat province at midnight on February 13. 16 insurgents were killed in the overnight shootout by the marines. As authorities are still in pursuit of the remaining militants, rumors and leaflets threatening lives of Thai officials and civilians spread over the region, leaving local teachers in fear and uncertainty about their future.

Chief of Yala Primary Educational Service Area Office 3 Adul Promsaeng said that in Yala alone, 44 teachers have already appealed for a transfer out of insurgency-prone districts. In total, over 200 teachers in the three southern border provinces have submitted their transfer requests in the wake of targeted killings. He added that the office will be holding meetings with school directors in the area to devise measures to cushion the situation.

Nearly 160 school personnel have been killed since the Islamist insurgency flared up in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces in 2004. In January this year, a Muslim teacher was gunned down in his school canteen, leading to calls for tightened safety measures in schools.