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Southeast Asia
Thai terrorists target teachers and officials
2012-12-21
An attempt to hunt and kill Buddhist officials in Narathiwat province on Thursday has sparked fears that terrorists insurgents are now shifting their target from teachers to government officials. Seven armed men stormed into the Bacho Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) office and burned it down around noon on Thursday after failing to find any Buddhist employees to kill.

Abdulwaha Dulayapinij, the office manager, told the police he and seven other employees were just leaving for lunch. He said, "One of them fired a gun into the air and ordered everyone to stay put in Yawi (a Malay dialect spoken by Muslims in the region) and then asked if there were any Buddhist Thais working here. I told him there were none, and the outlaw was upset and said I had lied to him."

Mr Abdulwaha told them there was a female Buddhist official identified as Suchada sae Li working at the TAO as a community development officer, but she was on leave on Thursday.
So gallant!
Upset with the answer, two of the gunmen emptied a five-liter container of gasoline into the archive and equipment storage rooms, set fire to it and then fled. Villagers, office staff and a local disaster relief team tried to put out the fire, but the blaze quickly spread and destroyed the entire building.

Mr Abdulwaha said it seemed the assailants wanted to kill the only Buddhist official at the office, and had planned to use the gasoline to burn her body. He said the attack left him and the other staff in fear for their own safety and that they would not likely return to work until the office was rebuilt.
"By the time they rebuild the office, my fear should be all gone."
This latest incident took place three days after a vehicle transporting government officials was ambushed by terrorists insurgents in Cho Airong district in the same province. On Monday, two officials from the Agricultural Extension Office in Sungai Padi district were killed in the attack. Five others, including a female teacher, were wounded.

Security sources in the deep South said that terrorists insurgents now were looking for government officials after focusing on teachers over the past few weeks. Changing their target is part of their strategy, they added.

Teachers in the southernmost provinces continue to worry about their safety but decided to reopen schools last Monday after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guaranteed them better protection measures and welfare.

Panu Uthairat, a deputy permanent secretary for interior, said the Education Ministry has set up a hotline phone number to help local teachers and also encouraged them to stay at official residences provided for them in school compounds with protection from security forces. He added that keeping them on school premises would reduce their chances of being targeted by terrorists insurgents.
Posted by:ryuge

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