Hundreds of Thai schools close after teacher attacks

BANGKOK, Dec 6, 2012 (AFP) -Teachers in Thailand's restive south suspended lessons at hundreds of schools Thursday after gun attacks on two educators this week, in the second recent class stoppage in the region over security fears.
The local teaching association in Narathiwat, one of three insurgency-plagued southern provinces, said it had called for all state schools in the area to close for two days after a teacher was shot dead on Monday.
"We demand effective security measures for teachers. State agencies should take responsibility for this incident," said chairman Sanguan Intarak, adding the group would reassess the situation before schools reopened early next week.
Chatsuda Nilsuwan, 32, who was shot as she left school on Monday, became the 155th education worker killed in the Thai south, which has been in the grip of insurgency for nearly nine years.
Another teacher in Narathiwat was shot and wounded on Tuesday.
Militants view the school system as an effort by Bangkok to impose Buddhist culture on the Muslim-majority south. Teachers working in non-religious schools are frequently targeted because they are seen as a symbol of government authority.
Sanguan said about 70 percent of the province's 378 state schools had closed Thursday -- with the rest not made aware of the decision in time.
The move follows the closure of more than 300 schools in neighbouring Pattani last week to protest the risks faced by educators.
Thailand's southern unrest has claimed more than 5,300 lives, both Buddhist and Muslim, with near-daily bomb or gun attacks.

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