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Occupiers of U.S. wildlife refuge indicted

Xinhua, February 5, 2016 Adjust font size:

A U.S. federal indictment was unsealed on Thursday against 16 militia members involved in the occupation of a wildlife refuge in the northwestern state of Oregon.

The three-page indictment filed in a federal court in Portland, Oregon, names four persons still holding out at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon and 12 others, including the group's leader Ammon Bundy, already in custody.

At the time of Bundy and some of his followers' arrest on Jan. 26 at a traffic stop on Highway 395 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oregon State Police officers, another member of the group, Robert Finicum of Arizona, was shot and killed. By occupying the refuge in Oregon, his group demanded that the federal land be turned over to local authorities.

The four holdouts at the federal facility have reportedly negotiated with FBI agents and said they will not leave without a guarantee that they will not be arrested. They are identified as David Fry, 27, of Ohio; Jeff Banta, 46, of Nevada; Sean Anderson, 48, and Sandy Anderson, 47, of Idaho.

A federal grand jury charged all of the 16 with a felony conspiracy related to the occupation of the remote refuge since Jan. 2, saying the defendants used force, intimidation and threats to keep federal officials from carrying out their duties.

Ammon Bundy, of Nevada, was involved in a 2014 armed standoff with federal agencies over grazing rights. Endi