The insurgents have not outlined their political aims and their leaders' identities are unknown. Also, the current government has little political pull in the region.
Wednesday's death toll was the biggest since Thai security forces stormed a mosque in 2004, killing 32 Muslims in a raid that intensified the insurgency in Thailand's deep south.
Four explosions rocked southern Thailand, killing 14 people in one of the biggest attacks in the eight year insurgency. The militancy remains far from tourist hot spots.