The model security guard of Kuan Noree
Mahmu Sulong aka Bae So of Tambon Kuan Noree in Kok Pho district of Pattani is not just any village security guard but a role model security guard who is dedicated to his job, fearless and disciplined.
As security chief with the consent of his teammates, Bae So’s main responsibility is to provide protection to teachers and students at three schools in Tambon Kuan Noree namely Ban Kuan Noree, Ban Pa Rai and Ban Tupa. He himself is posted at Ban Kuan Noree school which is located in the middle and from which he coordinates on daily basis with the two other teams assigned to the two other schools.
Bae So’s daily routine is to be at Ban Kuan Noree school before seven in the morning. “I check everything in the school be it a garbage bin, bushes, sewage drains or stone benches to look for something suspicious, he told reporters of Isra news agency.
When all the teachers and students are in school, he will have the main front gate locked leaving only the small side door unlocked. Then he will take position at a kiosk in front of the school where he will remain there until about one o’clock in the afternoon when the teachers have had their lunch and he will have his lunch at the kiosk or go home to have lunch before returning to the school to carry on with his job.
While doing his job at Ban Kuan Noree school in the morning, Bae So will phone the two other security guard teams at the other school asking if all the teachers are already at the schools or not. If not then, he will coordinate with army units in Kok Pho district to escort the remaining teachers to the schools.
Bae So said that security guards have to be always on the alert and to always watch out for strangers. Citing the fatal attack on the director and a teacher of Ban Ba Ngo school in Mayo district of Pattani on December 11, he said that the assailants disguised themselves in army’s green uniform so the teachers would not become suspicious of them.
However, he pointed out that security guards or teachers could still distinguish the militants from soldiers even if they were dressed up in army’s uniforms. He said that soldiers are disciplined and wear their helmets all the time while some militants do not although in army’s attire.
"Security guards must know all the basic information about soldiers and policemen in their areas such as the colour of their scarfs whether they wear helmets or berets." said Bae So.
The security guard said he enjoyed his job although the pay is so small, only 4,500 baht a month which is lower than what he used to get while working as a security guard at the War Veterans Welfare Organisation in Bangkok. But he chose to stick to the job anyway because he didn’t have to pay house rent and cooked himself.
Asked about his own safety, Bae So said "the job is fun and I am not afraid (of militants). I never think about what will happen to me so long as the villagers, teachers and students are safe."
He added that he did not have bullet-proof vest but only used his intuition for survival.
Bae So can count himself very lucky because throughout the past five years working as a security guard he encountered only one thrilling incident on September 21, 2011 when a postman, Mr Lert Sopanree, was seriously shot by suspected militants.
The postman survived the attack by feigning dead. But security forces could not get in to rescue the victim for fear of ambushes so they asked Bae So for help. Bae So said he felt very nervous as he drove his brother’s pick-up truck to take the victim to Kok Pho hospital fearing that he would be ambushed along the way.
Talking about young men in Tambon Kuan Noree, Bae So observed that unlike other parts of the country women were lured into prostitution but in his tambon and others in the deep South it was young men who were lured into drug addiction and lured to join the militant groups.
Ten men from Ban Kuan Noree were killed at Krue Se mosque on April 28, 2004, Bae So said.