Every time a military truck carrying heavily armed soldiers rumbles past Kalee's house in southern Thailand's Narathiwat province she turns her head away in disgust and mutters khon raai - a phrase that means evil person. Ms Kalee's hostility for the Thai army stems from an incident five weeks ago when military trucks stopped at her house to search the premises. Soldiers had stopped her 26-year-old husband at a military checkpoint in a so-called 'red zone' area set up in Thailand's three southern provinces by the government because of Islamic militant attacks. Ms Kalee, who doesn't want her real name used, hasn't seen her husband since soldiers ripped apart her house, and she wonders whether he's alive. Such disappearances have become more common during the government's crackdown against Muslim insurgents in the south of the country. What alarms Ms Kalee and human rights campaigners is where the detainees may have wound up, with some groups lobbying to exhume the bodies of 300 unidentified graves in a neighbouring province. 'We've got a killing field in Pattani,' said Annandchai Thaipratan, a senior member of the Youth Muslim Association of Thailand, a community group working on human rights issues in the region. 'What does that say about the current government?' Most of the bodies were taken to the temporary burial grounds by the local Chinese rescue foundation when nobody claimed them at the city morgue. Now, three Thai Muslim families want to exhume the bodies and conduct DNA tests to see if their missing sons and husbands are among the dead. Thailand's leading forensic scientist, Pornthip Rojanasunan, has volunteered to head the project but obstacles lie ahead. Some critics say exhuming the bodies will infringe on Islamic religious principles. DNA testing has been completed on many families of missing persons and others have been urged to file their cases at the newly established Justice and Reconciliation Centre at the Prince of Songkla University's Pattani Campus. But Dr Annandchai, who also contributed to the National Reconciliation Commission's independent report on the problems in southern Thailand, questions whether it will address the human rights violations. 'Thaksin [Shinawatra, the prime minister] and the government don't care. We need international assistance and international eyewitnesses,' he said. The growing missing persons cases have come under the scrutiny of foreign human rights groups, and in April army chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin disclosed that the government used blacklists to round up suspects. He also admitted some names might have been included for personal grudges. Under the government's emergency decree, authorities can detain suspects such as Ms Kalee's husband for up to 30 days without charging them. Moreover, the legislation provides soldiers immunity from prosecution for actions taken in the line of duty. 'Blacklists are criminal. They are illegal. They legitimise murder,' the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission stated in a press release, following the general's revelations. 'Everywhere in the world that large-scale extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances have occurred they have been accompanied by the use of lists.' The case of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit - who was abducted by police more than two years ago - has come to symbolise the trampling of human rights in the kingdom in the name of fighting terrorism. A day after the conviction of one officer in February on minor charges, Mr Thaksin acknowledged that Somchai was dead and promised that murder charges would be laid by the end of the month. Four months later and with no charges, Somchai's widow Angkana has gone south to offer support and advice to others who face rough justice at the hands of authorities. Accompanied by a team of legal advisers, local politicians and NGOs, Ms Angkana met many of the distraught women in Yala province during a week marked by 40 bombings by suspected Islamic insurgents. There were signs of hope as the group of Muslim women listened intently while Ms Angkana guided them through the meticulous task of recording circumstances surrounding their loved ones' disappearance. Until now, the government's token gesture of compensation has been payments of US$2,500 to 17 of the 21 affected families without any follow-up investigation. Human rights groups estimate hundreds of cases have gone unrecorded. 'If we do not monitor and record these cases, maybe the rest will also disappear and be forgotten,' Ms Angkana said. Wama Baning has not seen her 25-year-old son Patee for nine months. 'I went to the authorities when my son didn't come home one night but they haven't done anything - I don't know what to do,' she said. Next to Ms Wama, a couple are filling in a form for their missing 24 year-old son, Budeeman Masalee, whom they last saw in January 2004. 'The Thaksin government gave us some money last year, but we still want to know what happened to our son,' says the husband, Wadeesat. A shared bond links the traumatised families, who no longer feel alone in their quest for the truth. To lend support, Ms Angkana's daughter Bam and colleagues from leading Thai universities have volunteered to document the findings. 'This has been a golden opportunity for everyone to join together and tell their stories about the loss of their loved ones,' said Ms Bam, a 21-year-old student. 'Exchanging our experiences has helped build up our resolve to fight for truth and justice.' While many families still wait for word of their loved ones, those who have already buried their family members suffer psychological trauma. Simah Masah peers through the iron bars covering her living room window, a prisoner in her own home. Many of her neighbours who can't afford the security rails have plywood or thick planks tacked onto the window frames for protection from the unknown. The atrocity occurred more than two years ago but the 35-year-old Malay Muslim and her two children will never forget their terror when 10 men, heads covered with sacks, smashed down the front door. 'Madorapee was a sub-district chief. He sold construction material,' she said. 'My husband had never harmed anyone.' Ms Simah and her two children were tied up with rope, gagged and blindfolded. After tearing the house apart, the men dragged Madorapee away into the night. Four days later, his mutilated body - showing signs of torture - was found in a rice field. Ms Simah's was one of the families who received the monetary government compensation last year from the 'Healing Committee' but she is not satisfied. 'Is that the value the government puts on a life?' she asked. 'I want to come face to face with the killers and ask them why they did it.'