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One killed, seven arrested as police clash with Oregon militia

The leader of the group that led the rural revolt at a wildlife refuge has been detained.

Ammon Bundy, who has been arrested.
Ammon Bundy, who has been arrested.
Image: Associated Press

ONE PERSON HAS died in an armed clash with police in the US after officers arrested the leaders of a group laying siege to a wildlife refuge in Oregon.

Ammon Bundy, who has led the revolt in rural Oregon, was one of seven people arrested after a stand-off pitting an anti-government militia against the US authorities.

Bundy has said protesters acted at the request of a rancher who wanted to graze his 600 cattle on federal property, but was prevented from doing so when the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) installed a fence last year.

Bundy, 40, was arrested along with four others who face “a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats,” the FBI said.

“During (the) arrest, there were shots fired,” the FBI statement said of an operation along a highway involving FBI agents and Oregon state police.

Authorities did not immediately identify the person who was killed. However, a family member told The Oregonian newspaper that the man killed was her father – 55-year-old Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum of Arizona.

LaVoy Finicum was a frequent and public presence at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, often speaking for the group at news conferences.

“One individual who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased,” and another person was injured and receiving medical treatment, the FBI statement added.

Two others suspects were arrested separately in the nearby town of Burns in connection to the case and faces similar charges, the FBI and state police said.

The activist group which took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was protesting the jailing of two local ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were convicted of arson.

They were calling for the government to turn over federal land in the area to the people.

Both ranchers distanced themselves from the movement and voluntarily began their scheduled prison sentences after the occupation began.

Some neighbours and members of the local community, notably the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, rejected the takeover, even if they support the Hammonds’ plight.

© – AFP, 2016 with reporting from AP. 

Read: Explainer: Why are a group of gun-carrying ranchers staging a siege on government property? 

Read: Armed militia refuse to leave government property after men they were “defending” hand themselves in

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