BANGKOK, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- New school term in Thailand's southernmost provinces is greeted with a large number of police and military deployed to step up security of schools, local media Tuesday reported.
The first of November marks the re-opening of the second semester of most schools. In Yala province in Thailand's deep south, security of 111 schools were tightened. Security checkpoints were set up along main and secondary roads. Cars, trucks, motorcycles and individuals were being searched for weapons.
In Songkla, one of the southernmost provinces neighboring Yala, more than 200 volunteer defense corps were deployed to guard schools.
The step-up security comes after a spate of bomb attacks on school in the country's restive deep south.
On last Friday, a teacher was shot and killed as she arrived at school in in Pattani Province, which is home to an ongoing separatist insurgency.
On Oct. 24, at least 16 individuals including 5 children were wounded and one person was killed in a homemade bomb explosion at a market in the same province.
On Sept. 6, alleged separatist insurgents detonated a bomb in southern Thailand's Narathiwat outside a school, killing a man and his daughter.
A conflict known as south Thailand insurgency started in 2004. The Muslim populations of the provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat have been striving for independence from predominantly Buddhist Thailand.
More than 200 schools have been burned down or targeted in bomb attacks over the past twelve years of the armed conflict. Of the more than 6,500 people killed, more than 180 were educators.
Insurgents have also frequently ambushed Thai government security patrols trying to escort teachers and students safely to and from their schools.
The Thai government has resumed a peace dialogue with separatist groups resumed since Sept. 2. However, insurgents affiliated with Barisan Revolusi Nasional-Coordinate (BRN-Coordinate) have not ceased attacks on civilians. Enditem