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Teachers in southern Thailand boycott class, shut schools over attacks by Muslim insurgents

Teachers in a violence-wracked southern Thai province have decided to shut down all primary schools there until the government can guarantee their safety from attacks by Muslim insurgents.

The head of the region's teachers' association said Monday that Pattani province's 332 schools would be closed indefinitely until officials could boost teachers' confidence in their security. Boonsom Tongsriplai said teachers in Narathiwat and Yala provinces would be asked to join the boycott.

A female school principal was killed last Thursday in Pattani's Nongchik district, the latest of scores of teachers targeted by the insurgents.

Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani are the only Muslim-majority provinces in Buddhist-dominated Thailand. More than 5,000 people have been killed since an Islamist insurgency flared in the three southernmost provinces in 2004.