7 years ago

Y'all Qaeda militia declares YeeHawd by taking over federal building in Oregon

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BURNS, OREGON — A group of armed self-proclaimed militia members have stormed into a federal building in Oregon, saying they're prepared to stay there for years and are ready to go out guns blazing.

The group of up to 150 people have been in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters building in Burns, Oregon since Saturday afternoon.

The militia splintered off from a group of about 300 demonstrators marching through Burns to protest the jail sentences of two local ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond, who were convicted of arson in 2012.

The Hammonds were convicted of setting fires in 2001 and 2006 on federal land in Burns leased to them for cattle grazing. The fires destroyed a combined 140 acres, with one of them possibly covering up evidence of alleged deer poaching.

Dwight and Steven Hammond both served jail time after being sentenced to three months and one year, respectively, but the sentences were recently increased to five years each on appeal.

The Hammonds were due to report to a federal prison on Monday.

The leader of the group occupying the wildlife refuge building appears to be Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

The group wants federal land to be returned to Harney County ranchers, according to Ammon. They also want the Hammonds to avoid prison. They are accusing the government of oppressing ranchers and other landowners.

The Hammonds have denounced Bundy and his militia group and said they plan to report to prison.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said he is working with local and federal authorities to resolve the situation as quickly and peacefully as possible.

FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said the agency was aware of the situation. She made no further comment.

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