The Islamic militants are trying to do some ethnic, and religious, cleansing in the Moslem south. The three southern provinces have a population of some 1.8 million, and only 360,000 of those are Buddhists (the religion of the majority of Thais, who are ethnically different from the Moslems, who are Malays). The terror campaign is having some success, as some ten percent of the southern Buddhists have left the south in the past six months. But many of the remaining Buddhists are arming and preparing to defend themselves, and stay in the south.
The enemy apparently consists of at least several hundred young men, who are armed and willing to kill. Last week, a series of attacks was carried out in one town by some sixty young men. Police have arrested several men they believe participated in this attack.