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The head of an armed militant group holed up in a federal building in an Oregon wildlife sanctuary collected a $530,000 (£362,000) small business loan just five years ago. That makes two Bundys, Ammon and his dad, Cliven, who currently owe the government hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cliven is in arrears for $1.2 million for grazing his cattle on federal land and not paying fees, according to officials.
"I am not anti-government, there is a role for the government," Bundy told CNN, adding that getting a six-figure loan from the US does not conflict with his political philosophy. Bundy got the loan in 2010 for his company, Valet Fleet Service, a truck maintenance service in Arizona. "A government's role is to serve the people. Whenever those governments step out, then that's when we step in," he said. He added that there was no hypocrisy in enjoying the benefits of the loan because it was about "an effort in assisting the people in using their rights."
Bundy and his armed band of 12, who call themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, seized a building in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge five days ago. They are protesting on behalf of two ranchers, a father and son, convicted of arson for torching federal grazing land. The ranchers say they were destroying invasive plants to protect the public pasture land they use for their cattle.
Bundy and his followers claim they're in the protest for the long haul. Federal officials are reportedly planning to cut power and phone service and block roads in an effort to drive the militia out, but are reluctant to confront the men, who have weapons and use a watchtower to patrol the grounds.
"There is no real reason, at this point, to go in. And the FBI knows that," said Steve Moore, a retired supervisory special agent for the FBI.