MANILA Violence spawned by the communist insurgent movement in the Philippines has claimed more than 3,000 lives over the last eight years, figures released by the military on Sunday showed.

The figures revealed that 1,072 soldiers and police, 1,476 rebels and 559 civilians had died in communist insurgent-related violence since 2001. This includes civilians killed in crossfire during battles, the army said.

In the latest outbreak of violence, New People's Army (NPA) fighters ambushed a logging company truck in the southern town of Carmen on Friday, killing three people including a security guard and an eight-year-old girl, the army said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the NPA, have waged a Maoist campaign to seize power for 40 years.

The conflict peaked in the 1980s, when rebel ranks reached 26,000. However military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner said the numbers of the NPA have fallen to just above 3,000.—AFP

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