Buddhists Under Siege

Village chief Boonserm Petchsuan, 49, is one well-armed Buddhist. Holstered under his baggy shirt is a .38-cal. revolver, and at home he keeps an assault rifle to protect his wife and teenage daughter. Boonserm is taking no chances. Two weeks ago, his friend Run Tulae, 59, was abducted from their remote village of Ai Ti Mung in troubled Narathiwat province. His decapitated corpse was found the next day. "I think he was still alive when they cut his head off," says Boonserm.

Last month police and soldiers shot dead six Muslim protesters in nearby Tak Bai, and another...

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