Despite the announced peace
talks in the south, the killings continue. Not as many as before, but 700 have
died in the last year, and 3,400 in the last four. That's about two people a
day, in an area with a population of two million. That's about five times the
murder rate in the rest of the country. The rate of violence has decreased as
the police and army have gained the upper hand, but many of the Islamic
terrorists are willing to fight to the death. The groups that are negotiating a
peace deal are largely moderates who have long tolerated the actions of the
militants, or opposed them, but were willing to actively confront the terrorists.
The peace talks are all about the moderates willing to consider fighting the
terrorists. This is prompted, in part, by increased Islamic violence against
southern Moslems suspected to assisting the police. More southerners are doing
just that, and the peace negotiations are another aspect of that trend.
21, 2008: The government and
representatives of the Moslem population in the south held peace talks, and
agreed to work out their differences in further talks next month. Indonesian
officials helped arrange the peace talks.