Four members of the militia remain, over a month after seizing the federal building
FBI agents have moved in on the Oregon wildlife refuge where armed militia took up residence in early January, as the last four protestors refuse to leave the sire, according to reports.
On Wednesday, agents from the FBI’s Portland office were positioned at barricades around the area of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as negotiations began to coax the occupiers from the region, NBC reports.
“We reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area,” Greg Bretzing, who is the special agent leading the FBI in Oregon, told NBC.
According to USA Today, federal agents moved forward after one of the four drove an ATV beyond one of the barriers set by the occupiers, before returning to the area at high speeds.
The remaining four people are reportedly David Fry, 27, of Ohio; Jeff Banta, 46, of Nevada’ and Sean and Sandy Anderson – 48 and 47, respectively – who are married.
At one point the group allegedly appeared on a live stream on YouTube, in which they seemed to be in the middle of a shouting match with law enforcement, USA Today reports.
“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue,” Bretzing added.
In late January, Ammon Bundy, who led the militia group, was arrested and advised his followers to end the occupation, and “go home and hug your families”. However, a small group of occupiers remained following Bundy’s advice.
Following his arrest, Bundy and six others were required to remain in jail after a judge deemed them flight risks and a danger to public safety.