By the Blouin News World staff

Oregon occupiers said ready to surrender

by in U.S..

Headquarters for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in SE Oregon. Source: Cacophony/Wikimedia Commons

Headquarters for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in SE Oregon. Source: Cacophony/Wikimedia Commons

The four armed occupiers of a U.S. government wildlife reserve in the U.S. state of Oregon are preparing to surrender, a member of the group says.

The BBC reports:

Sean Anderson said they would leave the Malheur complex on Thursday morning, in a live broadcast on the internet.

Earlier, the FBI moved in on the group, which had been entrenched for 40 days.

They are protesting against federal government control of local land. One activist died in an earlier confrontation with police.

Agents were placed behind barricades near the self-styled militia’s encampment, an FBI statement said.

All four of the militia – a husband and wife and two other men – were said to be present during a discussion, broadcast live online, about how they would put down their weapons and walk out of the refuge at 08:00 local time (16:00 GMT).

They will meet a Nevada lawmaker, Michele Fiore, and a preacher who are travelling to meet them. Ms Fiore, a Republican member of the Nevada state assembly, was also on the live conference call.

Reuters writes:

The takeover at Malheur, which began on Jan. 2, was sparked by the return to prison of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires that spread to federal property in the vicinity of the refuge.

The occupation, led by Idaho rancher Ammon Bundy, also was directed as a protest against federal control over millions of acres public land in the West.

Bundy and 10 others were arrested in January in Oregon, most of them during a confrontation with the FBI and state police on a snow-covered roadside where a spokesman for the group, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was shot dead. A 12th member of the group turned himself in to police in Arizona.

The FBI said its agents moved to contain the remaining four holdouts Wednesday evening after one of the occupiers drove an ATV outside the barricades previously set up by the self-styled militia members at the refuge.

FBI agents attempted to approach the driver, and he sped away back to the compound, after which federal agents “moved to contain the remaining occupiers by placing agents at barricades both immediately ahead of and behind” their encampment, the FBI said.