January 23, 2010: It's been a slow month for terrorism in the south. The six years of violence has left about 4,000 people dead, but the number of monthly casualties has been declining over the last year. This is due to a combination of security force presence, and war weariness among the Moslem majority (85 percent of the two million people in the south), which has made it more difficult for the terrorists to survive and thrive. There are 30,000 soldiers, 18,000 police and 40,000 armed volunteers working against a few thousand Islamic terrorists.
The government has recruited another 1,440 defense volunteers in the south. These civilians are given some paramilitary training, then paid $1.67 a day for work done guarding schools, other public buildings, and their own neighborhoods. There are over 40,000 of these volunteers in the south, and they have been critical in causing the decline in terrorist violence. As important as standing guard has been, the defense volunteers have been more useful as sources of information. Despite the fact that a disproportionate number of volunteers are local Buddhists, they are out in the community all the time, and pick things up.
January 21, 2010: In the south, a defense volunteer was shot dead, as he returned home.
January 19, 2010: In the south, four soldiers were wounded by a roadside bomb.