Four militants remain in US stand-off

Law enforcement officers block a road near the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside Burns, Oregon January 28, 2016.Image copyright

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Authorities have erected a roadblock outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

The FBI is attempting to negotiate the surrender of the final four anti-government militants holed up at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

The remaining militants said they would not leave unless they had assurances that they would not be arrested.

On Tuesday, authorities killed one of the militants and arrested several others including the movement’s leader.

The group seized the refuge in early January, demanding that government turn federal lands over to local control.

Oregon Public Broadcasting interviewed the militants at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon and identified them as David Fry, who is from Ohio, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Idaho, and Jeff Banta of Nevada.

Ammon Bundy, the group’s jailed leader, has urged the remaining protesters to stand down, saying they would continue their fight in court.

A federal judge told the Oregonian newspaper that none of the arrested militants would be released until the hold-outs had surrendered.

Media captionAerial video released by the FBI January 28, 2016 shows a man who had just stepped out of the white pickup truck at a police roadblock

On Thursday, the FBI released video of the traffic stop that led to the death of one of the militants, Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum.

Some critics had said Finicum, 54, had not provoked the officers.

However the FBI pointed to the video, saying the footage shows Finicum reaching into his coat pocket twice after officers confronted him. Police found a handgun in Finicum’s pocket.

“Actions have consequences,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge for the FBI in Portland. “The FBI and [Oregon State Police] tried to effect these arrests peacefully.”

James Cook, North America correspondent, recalls dead militiaman

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In the early days of the Oregon occupation, the militiamen were a mixed bunch. There were the taciturn ones, the braggarts and the loose cannons.

And then there was LaVoy Finicum, a man who seemed to stand apart from the rest. On one foul night in the cold with sleet falling and rumours of a raid flying, Mr Finicum took his rifle and sat on the ground at the entrance to the bird reserve headquarters with the weapon on his lap.

Ignoring scoffs from the assembled reporters, he told me he would resist if police came for him. He had no intention of being caged and, if necessary, he was ready to die.

In the end he appears to have died as he predicted he might, violently and at the hands of the authorities he despised. Whatever the truth of his final moments, LaVoy Finicum leaves behind a large family, reportedly of 11 children.

“I have a 17-year-old daughter,” he said. “Thank goodness she’s a firecracker, I hope she can hold everything together. I’m a small producer. She’ll be able to do it.”


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