MONTREAL, SEPT. 2 -- Canadian soldiers quietly seized control of the last outpost of renegade Mohawk Indians today, ending a months-long armed standoff spawned by a squabble over a golf course.
Troops in armored carriers backed by helicopters took control of an Indian barricade in the town of Oka as about 40 armed Mohawks calling themselves the Warriors Society faded into the woods.
"It was very successful in the sense that no violence was used -- either by us or by the Mohawks," army spokesman Capt. Yvon Desjardins told reporters. Military sources said 350 soldiers took part in the operation, which began Saturday afternoon with a sweep into the Kahnesatake Mohawk settlement.
Several gunshots were heard Saturday and during the night, but there were no reports of casualties. The dispute has been simmering since April, when municipal authorities at Oka announced plans to expand a golf course onto lands the Mohawks consider sacred.
The Indians erected barricades, and a Quebec policeman was killed July 11 when officers stormed them to enforce a court order that they be taken down. Indians across Canada set up blockades and barricades in solidarity with the Mohawks, and the Indians calling themselves the Warriors began arming.
The conflict at Oka spread two months ago to the larger Kahnawake reservation south of Montreal, but the Kahnawake Mohawks agreed Wednesday to allow the peaceful dismantling of barricades on their land.
The Canadian army said Saturday it had taken control of the Mercier Bridge, a commuter artery into Montreal, which was blocked by the Mohawks for seven weeks.
The Canadian and Quebec provincial governments ordered the army last week to clear the barricades in Oka. Gen. Armand Roy, the officer in charge of the operation, said he ordered troops in Saturday to protect civilians after he heard gunfire in the settlement.
Mohawk negotiator Gerry Pelletier told reporters Saturday that members of the Indian community at Oka had asked the army to come in after community members clashed with militant Warriors.
The Montreal newspaper La Presse reported that the army had allowed most of the Warriors who threw up the barricades to slip out of Oka. The newspaper said fewer than 40 Warriors remained at Oka, while between 200 and 300 got away with the bulk of the Indians' arsenal of machine guns, anti-tank guns and grenades.
The atmosphere at Oka remained tense as Warriors huddled to decide their next move. When a television newscaster in the settlement reported the "peaceful" end to the crisis, a Warrior came out and shouted at him: "If they think we're just going to set down our . . . guns, they've got another thought coming."