The government is trying a kinder and gentler approach to rooting out the Islamic terrorists down south. Thai police methods tend towards the violent. Then can be seen in the fact that, although some 1,800 people have been killed in the violence down south in the past two years, 58 percent of them have been Moslems. Many of the Moslem deaths are at the hands of Islamic terrorists, but most are caused by ruthless police tactics. The government doesn't like to talk about this, because many of the police methods (kidnapping, torture, murder) are against Thai law. But it's common for national leaders to order the police to "do something," and for the police to respond with extreme tactics in order to make the problem go away.
In the last few months, the police down south have tried a more subtle approach, working to establish an informant network. The police want to arrest some of the people responsible for the murders and arson attacks. But these terrorists are protected by an atmosphere of fear that is proving difficult to penetrate.
December 13, 2006: Three bombs went off in a market in the south, but only one person was wounded.
December 11, 2006: Over the weekend, at least five Moslems were killed by Islamic terrorists, demonstrating that the militants are still not confident that their "base" is secure. More schools and Buddhist temples were attacked as well.
December 10, 2006: Islamic terrorists set fire to two schools in the south. The campaign against the schools is considered a key tactic for the terrorists, and the al Qaeda brand of Islamic extremism is particularly keen to halt any education programs that are not run by Islamic conservatives.
December 9, 2006: Buddhists are 28 percent of the 1.3 million people in the three Moslem provinces down south, and the Islamic terror campaign to drive them out has only resulted in a few thousand non-Moslems leaving. But it has become almost impossible to recruit non-Moslem teachers to work in the south. There are not enough educated Moslems to do this work, and the Islamic terrorists want to keep it that way. The Islamic violence concentrates on a few villages at a time, because if people believe that their village is, in general, too dangerous to live in, the village empties out. That is beginning to happen to some predominately Buddhist villages, with the non-Moslems fleeing north. The government is now faced with having to deal with thousands of Buddhist refugees from the south.
December 8, 2006: Islamic terrorists in the south have stepped up their campaign against Moslems that do not cooperate with them. This includes murdering informants, or outspoken Moslems who oppose the terror campaign.