BAN BA-NGO, Thailand, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Most teachers in southern Thailand returned to school under heavy security a week after two teachers were gunned down by Muslim militants.
The school where the shooting took place in Ban Ba-ngo, a state-run school in the Mayo district of Pattani province, remained unstaffed. The five remaining teachers said they remained fearful of another attack, The Bangkok Post said.
"Teachers here are still afraid after what happened on that day. We don't want to go [to] the school because we genuinely fear for our lives," said one teacher, who asked not to be named.
The newspaper said violence in the region dating back to 2004 has claimed 157 teachers. More than 1,200 schools were closed in the wake of the Dec. 11 shooting, the Post said.
Teachers now have armed escorts to and from their schools and while classes are in session. The government is offering a 4 million baht ($130,787) stipend to families of slain teachers and tuition for their children to attend school through college.
Human Rights Watch condemned the attacks.
"Insurgents in southern Thailand who execute teachers show utter depravity and disregard for humanity," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "These attacks harm not only teachers and schools, but the Muslim students, their families, and the broader Muslim community the insurgents claim to represent."