Some Malaysia-based Thai Muslims, including those who call themselves "warriors", do not want separation for the far South. In one district just south of the border, home to about 2,000 exiles and fugitives, most only want a safe return home.
Haji Mah, 75, says about 100 Malay Muslims from Thailand who have sought shelter in his village in Kuala Krai district consider themselves Thai. Many of these people are juwae, or warriors.
"Many of us have took arms against the authorities when we saw our relatives and loved ones being attacked or exploited," Mr Haji Mah says. "The communities have brooded for a long time with anger and a sense of injustice."