One of the remaining occupiers said they would likely surrender as the armed standoff entered its 40th day. The four still in the national park have been indicted on charges of conspiring to obstruct federal officers.
US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents surrounded the four remaining anti-government militants late on Wednesday local time, following 40 days of an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
"It has never been the FBI's desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to solve the situation peacefully," FBI special agent Greg Bretzing said in a statement.
"However, 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 working in this area," Bretzing added.
The remaining occupiers related their account of the situation at the wildlife refuge on Wednesday, which was broadcast on independent Internet broadcast "Revolution Radio," which is known to be sympathetic to the group's occupation.
"If they tear gas us, it's the same as firing on us," said an occupier who identified herself as Sandy Anderson. "Don't come in. Don't do it."
According to reporter Molly Young from local daily "The Oregonian", Anderson said during the broadcast that she would surrender in the morning.
"You have my word we'll come out in the morning," Anderson said, according to a tweet by Young.
Meanwhile, Nevada state assembly member Michele Fiore, a Republican supporter of the occupiers, said she would meet with the anti-government militants on Thursday to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff.
Last week, the four remaining occupiers, along with 12 others previously arrested in connection with the standoff, were indicted on charges of conspiring to impede federal officers, which carries a maximum prison sentence of six years, according to Cornell University Law School.
Ammon Bundy, accompanied by 30 followers, launched the occupation on January 2 in protest of two local ranchers being sentenced to prison for arson that affected federal land in Nevada.
At least one person died during an armed confrontation between authorities and the occupiers in January, prompting militias across the US to issue a "stand by" order to supporters, noting: "No mobilization of any kind is to take place."
ls/msh (AFP, Reuters)