Slain school teacher buried
Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanich yesterday presided over a burial ceremony featuring royally granted burial soil for Muslim schoolteacher Chonlathee Charoenchol, who was shot dead in front of students in Narathiwat's Bacho district on January 23.Sermsak, accompanied by Narathiwat Governor Apinan Suethanuwong, presided over the 9.30am ceremony at the Tayong Yeuring cemetery, which was attended by some 300 people.
The teacher's wife, Paosiya Charoenchol, thanked the public for their financial donations and expressed concern for the couple's three children. She said she had removed her youngest daughter, 7-year-old Muhayat, from Ban Tanyong School, as she was traumatised after seeing her father killed. The first-grader refused to go to school, so Paosiya had sent her to Ban Yeu Lor School to help her recover.
Sermsak later visited Ban Tanyong School to offer moral support to its 14 teachers and 292 students, as well as their parents.
He urged parents and community leaders to be the "eyes and ears" for Thai authorities to protect teachers who devoted themselves to teaching children. Presenting sports equipment to the school, he also presented Bt900,000 in financial donations from the public and private sectors to Paosiya to put towards her three children's education. He also gave Muhayat a bicycle to ride to school.
Police investigating Chonlathee's murder said yesterday they had arrested Abdulbasit Pidoloh and Aropa Abulong, both 20, who confessed to having acted as lookouts for the insurgents responsible. Police had also interrogated Hamdeuloh Kaming, 30, for information about the case, they said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, presiding over the Internal Security Operations Command's annual meeting to review last year's achievements and this year's operation plans, yesterday urged officials to guard deep South schools and teachers from insurgent attacks. She said officials should consider providing high-powered weapons to kamnan and village headmen in the deep South on a case-by-case basis after taking into consideration the violence, manpower and other factors in their areas.
Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul yesterday led envoys from 17 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to visit the region. The envoys talked with religious leaders at Pattani Central Mosque and learned about the government's methods for tackling the violence.
In related news, the investigation by police in Narathiwat's Joh I Rong district into a bombing on Wednesday that killed Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Suthep Muankammoon, 54, found that the bombers were subordinates of insurgent Aliya Jehtae.
At Suthep's bathing rite at Wat Khok Kien, the officer's supervisor presented his family with a medal for Suthep's bravery along with some assistance money. A Royal Cremation for Suthep, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain, entitling his family to Bt5 million assistance money, will be held on Tuesday.
In Yala's Muang district, meanwhile, a combined force at 5am yesterday raided a rubber plantation in which suspected insurgent Jehkusaman had reportedly been spotted, but found no one. The officials seized two guns, ammunition and several litres of urea fertiliser. The two guns were stolen from slain officials in previous attacks, authorities said.