March 15, 2014 00:00
By Supitcha Rattana
Teachers in South frightened by brutal attack; agencies to review security
Unknown attackers shot and set fire to a female teacher in Pattani while she was travelling alone to school yesterday morning.
Siriporn Srichai, 43, is the 170th teacher murdered since the deep South plunged into unrest in 2003.
Her brutal murder shocked the public and has deeply demoralised teachers in the southernmost provinces.
“Teachers here feel frightened,” teacher Kirinee Promjan said.
Like Siriporn did, she works for a school in Pattani. Since the current wave of unrest hit the region many teachers have been targeted in bloody attacks.
The threat is so serious that security officials have to provide escorts to teachers in several risky areas.
“We are so saddened by what happened,” Boonsom Thongsri-plai, of the Confederation of Teachers in the Three Southern Border Provinces, said in reference to Siriporn’s death.
“This is a heartlessly cruel attack.”
He said relevant agencies would review security arrangements to determine why Siriporn was travelling alone at the time of the incident.
He expected security to be provided to teachers heading to schools between 7am and 10am every workday.
“Security measures must be reviewed. We need to prevent such attacks from recurring,” Boonsom said.
Siriporn had lived in Yala with her mother. Her death also means the elderly woman will lose the support she very much needs.
“Siriporn woke up early and cared for her mother before rushing out to her school every day,” a neighbour said.
Siriporn had always driven her motorcycle along the Muang Yala-Thung Yang Daeng-Mayo route to get to the Bantabing-ngi School in Pattani. She taught the English language.
Chased by two men
An investigation suggests that while Siriporn was driving along this familiar route yesterday, two men on a motorcycle chased after her. The passenger then shot at her and after Siriporn crashed, he fired more shots.
He then poured petrol over her and set her on fire.
Mayo Police Station received the report of the attack at around 9am.
When police arrived at the scene, Siriporn’s body was charred and her crash helmet was still on.
Police said they found gunshot wounds on her body and head.
The bathing rite for Siriporn was held at the Bhuddhabhum Temple in Yala’s Muang district. A number of high-ranking officials and teachers attended the rite.