Po­lice kill two linked to Thai school at­tack

The Phnom Penh Post - - ASEAN -

TWO in­sur­gents be­lieved to be tied to a mo­tor­cy­cle driveby shoot­ing at a school in Thai­land’s south were shot dead on Satur­day, po­lice said, as Unicef warned of trauma for chil­dren near the scene of the lunchtime vi­o­lence.

Since 2004 clashes be­tween Malay-Mus­lim rebels and the Bud­dhist-ma­jor­ity Thai state that an­nexed the area over 100 years ago have killed nearly 7,000 peo­ple, mostly civil­ians of both faiths.

The con­flict rarely makes global head­lines but is a re­al­ity for res­i­dents of bor­der prov­inces where se­cu­rity forces main­tain a large foot­print, aided by poorly paid de­fence “vol­un­teers” drawn from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

The four men killed in Thurs­day’s shoot­ing were all Mus­lims and were guard­ing a school in Pat­tani prov­ince when the at­tack­ers struck just be­fore lunchtime with stu­dents mere me­tres away.

Pat­tani prov in­cia l po­lice com­man­der Piyawat Chalermsri said on Satur­day that t wo peo­ple wit h a lleged ties to t he school v io­lence were k illed in a shootout on Satur­day morn­ing.

Though he did not give in­for­ma­tion about their iden­ti­ties or af­fil­i­a­tion, he said he was “con­fi­dent that they are the same group who car­ried out the at­tack on Thurs­day” by driv­ing by on mo­tor­bikes.

Au­thor­i­ties have a lso de­tained one sus­pect and are ques­tion­ing five ot hers, while a mil­i­tar y source said an eight-year-old had been gra zed by a bul­let but not se­ri­ously in­jured.

Unicef Thai­land rep­re­sen­ta­tive Thomas Davin said on Fri­day t hat one child at the Bukoh school at­tack was re­port­edly in­jured by de­bris and some who may have wit­nessed the at­tack could face long-term psy­cho­log­ica l trauma.

“This at­tack has un­doubt­edly put the school chil­dren, the teach­ers and school per­son­nel in harm’s way. It has put chil­dren at grave risk of in­jury or death,” he said.

The 15-year in­sur­gency has seen scores of teach­ers killed, slain for their per­ceived col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Thai state, which led to the use of armed guards at schools.

The death toll in t he con­flict dropped to a record low last year as Thai­land’s junta tight­ened its se­cu­rit y op­er­a­tions.

But re­cent weeks have seen an uptick in vi­o­lence, as rebels show they re­main able to carry out more pin­pointed op­er­a­tions.

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