Female teacher shot and burned in Thailand
14 March 2014, 12:56
Bangkok - Gunmen shot dead a female teacher in insurgency-racked southern Thailand on Friday and set her body on fire, police said, in the latest attack on an education worker.
The 42-year-old was riding a motorbike to work at an elementary school in the Mayo district of Pattani province when she was attacked.
"Gunmen shot her and set fire to her body," a local police officer said by telephone.
She was the 171st education worker to be killed during the decade-long conflict in Thailand's Muslim-dominated deep south near the border with Malaysia.
The insurgency has claimed more than 5 900 lives - the majority of them civilians - in near-daily attacks including shootings, bombings and even beheadings.
Teachers are among those targeted by the shadowy network of militants for their perceived collaboration with the Thai state.
Experts say a recent spike in deaths is partly due to the stalling of peace talks while the Thai government struggles to deal with opposition protests in Bangkok.
The insurgents want a level of autonomy from Thailand, which annexed the region over a century ago.
They accuse Thai authorities of widespread human rights abuses and a lack of respect for their religion, culture and language.