Peace talks with some of the Islamic separatists continue, with the next session taking place in Malaysia later this month. The rebels are split over the very idea of negotiations. Most Moslems in the south are fed up with nearly a decade of violence that has left over 5,700 dead, the economy crippled, and many schools closed because of constant terrorist attacks on schools and teachers (especially the non-Moslem ones). The criminal gangs (mostly smugglers) still back the most violent Islamic terrorist groups and that keeps the violence going. The gangs want an independent Moslem state in the south that would be more tolerant of the organized crime groups that would continue to prosper by smuggling goods (especially drugs) between Thailand and Malaysia. While the Islamic radicals are a rather recent development, the gangs and the Moslem separatists have been around since Thailand took over the area (that was an independent sultanate) over a century ago. Thus one major reason the government will not allow independence is the fear of the place becoming a criminal and terrorist sanctuary. The more moderate separatists in the south understand that and are willing to settle for more autonomy and economic assistance. But crushing the remaining Islamic radicals could take years, mainly because of the gangster support.
October 15, 2013: Acting on a tip, police raided a house in the south and were fired on by several armed men. After a three hour running gun battle three men were killed and three pistols recovered. One of the dead had an arrest warrant outstanding for an earlier terrorist attack. A fourth man was arrested. All were part of an Islamic terrorist group that was planning an attack on a military checkpoint. These tips from locals (usually Moslems) are increasingly important in taking down the terrorist groups. In response the Islamic terrorists are murdering more Moslems suspected of informing on them or leading efforts to run or organize local defense organizations meant to keep terrorists out of an area.
October 9, 2013: In the south a roadside bomb was used to attack an army patrol, killing two soldiers and wounding three.
October 5, 2013: In the south soldiers and police raided a village used as a base by Islamic terrorists and an extended (until the next day) gun battle took place. By the time it was over two policemen and four terrorists were dead and seven terrorists were arrested.
October 2, 2013: In the south a roadside bomb was used to attack teachers and the soldiers guarding them. Two soldiers died and two were wounded. Three civilians were also wounded.
September 29, 2013: In the Moslem south a police raid killed the man wanted for leading a train bombing attack last November. In this incident a bomb on the tracks, near a railroad station, went off and damaged a train. Two rail cars were derailed. Nearby Islamic terrorists opened fire and when the attack was all over three guards were dead and thirty-four people were wounded. Police have been seeking those responsible ever since. Police wanted to arrest the suspect but he fought back.
September 27, 2013: In the south a car full of policemen crashed while racing to reinforce police who had been ambushed. The crash was caused by rebels putting spikes in the road and that killed five policemen. At the scene of the ambush one civilian was killed by Islamic terrorist gun fire and three policemen were wounded before the terrorists fled.