American Tourist Killed By Andaman Tribe On Protected Island

American missionary killed while trying to make contact with remote tribe in India

John Allen Chau, 26, was slain on North Sentinel Island, which is home to what is considered the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world and typically out of bounds to visitors, said Dependra Pathak, the director general of police in Andaman and Nicobar.

As per media reports, a source said, "John Chau tried to reach the Sentinel island on November 14 but could not make it".

The fishermen left for Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they broke the news to Mr Chau's friend, who in turn notified his family, Mr Pathak said.

A Sentinel tribal man aims with his bow and arrow at an Indian Coast Guard helicopter on December 28, 2004.

However, the family of John Allen Chau published a post on his Instagram account announcing his death.

Two fisherman were killed in 2006, although their bodies were never returned, Reuters reported. Contact with the islands' indigenous people is banned to protect their way of life.

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Pathak said a Coast Guard vessel with police and experts on the tribe had gone to scout the island and formulate a plan to recover Chau's body. It was not his first time in the region: he had visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2015 and 2016, Pathak said.

No census department official has ever set foot on the North Sentinel Island.

Mr. Chau allegedly paid fishermen $325 to take him to the island. The fishermen left at night so they wouldn't be detected by authorities but Chau came ashore at dawn. He interacted with some of the tribespeople, giving them gifts he had prepared such as a football and fish. But the tribespeople became angry and shot an arrow at him, hitting a book he was carrying, Pathak said. He set out again to meet the tribespeople on November 16.

But on the morning of the following day, the waiting fishermen saw from a distance his body being dragged by tribesmen.

Chau, who according to Indian media was a Christian missionary, had offered local fishermen money to take him to the island, the source said.

Authorities launched an investigation after police were contacted by the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Chennai, which has been in touch with Chau's mother.

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"It was a case of misdirected adventure, " he said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. consulate in the southern Indian city of Chennai told AFP only that they were aware of "reports concerning a USA citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands".

"When a USA citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts", Hosie said. "Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment", the spokesperson said in the email response.

The island is a protected area, and people are not allowed to go within 5 nautical miles of it, after previous incidents of aggressive behavior toward outsiders were observed.

They are the Sentinelese, one of the last remaining groups to reject contact with the outside world.

"The British colonial occupation of the Andaman Islands decimated the tribes living there, wiping out thousands of tribespeople, and only a fraction of the original population now survives". Instead, a few months ago the authorities lifted one of the restrictions that had been protecting the Sentinelese tribe's island from foreign tourists, which sent exactly the wrong message, and may have contributed to this bad event. "I have no question it was to bring the gospel of Jesus to them", Staver said.

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