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US militia leader arrested in deadly shootout

Leader of an armed militia that seized a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this month was arrested Tuesday following a deadly shoot-out with police, officials said.

Ammon Bundy was arrested in a traffic stop in rural Oregon with four others in connection with the occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the FBI and state police said in a statement.

The authorities said shots were fired and one suspect was killed.

Those arrested face a federal charge of “conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats”, the statement said.

Bundy’s militia occupied the wildlife refuge on Jan. 2 to protest government land policy and refused to leave until the government relinquished control of federal land to local ranchers.

Last week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown urged federal authorities to end the occupation, complaining that the stand-off had cost the state almost $500,000.

“This spectacle of lawlessness must end,” she said at a news conference. “And until Harney County is free of it I will not stop insisting that federal officials enforce the law.”

Bundy’s father, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, was involved in an armed protest against the federal government over grazing rights in 2014. The stand-off later took on a racist tone after he said African-Americans might be “better off as slaves”.

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