Southerners agitated by omnipresent leaflets

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NARATHIWAT, Feb 15 – Urgent action is needed to deal with the widespread distribution of anti-government leaflets in Thailand’s far South which can lead to misunderstanding among the public, a teachers’ leader said today. 

Sa-nguan Indrarak, chairman of the Narathiwat Teachers Federation, urged the authorities to urgently communicate with the people given the spreading of rumours by word-of-mouth conversations among people concerning accusations against officials in the leaflets.

He said the situation after the attack on the marine outpost in Narathiwat’s Bacho district is crucial and the authorities must clearly separate innocent civilians from the insurgents.

Sixteen militants were killed in the attack on the marine base early Wednesday morning – an incident which prompted the authorities to be on full alert for possible retaliation.

Mr Sa-nguan said most southern teachers disagreed with a proposal to assign local secondary school graduate volunteers to teach at primary schools in the three southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani.

“Military personnel or border patrol police are more suitable to substitute as teachers in risk-prone areas which are too dangerous for volunteers,” he said. “Graduate volunteers do not have teaching background and some have only completed high school.”

Mr Sa-nguan said teachers in primary schools in three southern provinces decided to finish the final exams this month.

After exam evaluations are completed, all teachers will gather and reside in a safer place, he said.