US Christian militia accused of plotting mass murder

Nine members of a right-wing US Christian militia have been charged with plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral.

Nine members of a right-wing US Christian militia have been charged with plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral.

Eight men and one woman were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

FBI agents moved quickly against the group, called Hutaree, because its members were planning an attack sometime next month in the hope of sparking an uprising to overthrow the government, prosecutors said.

Authorities seized guns in the raids but would not say whether they found any explosives.

The arrests have dealt “a severe blow to a dangerous organisation that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the US,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

Authorities said the arrests underscored the dangers of homegrown right-wing extremism of the sort seen in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

Court charges said the group began military-style training in 2008, learning how to shoot guns and make and set off bombs.

David Brian Stone, 44, of Clayton, Michigan, and one of his sons were identified as the ringleaders of the group. Stone, who was known as “Captain Hutaree,” organised the group in paramilitary fashion and members were assigned secret names, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said David Stone had identified police officers near his home as potential targets. He and other members discussed setting off bombs at a police funeral, using a fake emergency call to lure an officer to his death, killing an officer after a traffic stop, or attacking the family of an officer.

After such attacks, the group allegedly planned to retreat to strongholds protected by trip-wired explosives for a violent stand-off with the law.

The charges against the eight include plotting to levy war against the US, possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, teaching the use of explosives, and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction – homemade bombs. The defendants were jailed, awaiting bail hearings.

Hutaree says on its website its name means “Christian warrior” and describes the word as part of a secret language that few are privileged to know. The group quotes several Bible passages and declares: “We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. ... Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.”

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