Indian island police struggle to get body of American missionary

The family of a U.S. man reportedly killed by arrows fired by members of an endangered tribe in India's Andaman and Nicobar islands have said they forgive those who killed him. The Sentinelese tribe has remained isolated for years.

Indian authorities say that Chau paid local fishermen to take him to near the island so that he could paddle the rest of the way himself.

"God sheltered me and camouflaged me against the coast guard and the navy", John Allen Chau wrote before he was killed last week on North Sentinel Island.

First contact was made by the British in the late 1800s, when, despite their attempts to hide, six individuals from the tribe were captured and taken to the main island of the Andaman Island archipelago.

He asked God to forgive "any of the people on this island who try to kill me, and especially if they succeed".

John Allen Chau reached the remote area after buying the help of local fishermen, breaching the blanket security that should be around the Andamans, which is the base for the Tri-Services Command.

In one of his letters, he had written that people might think him to be insane for doing all of this but he felt need to make these people familiar with Jesus.

Chau was apparently shot and killed by arrows, but the cause of death can't be confirmed until his body is recovered, Pathak said. To others he was a Christian missionary, a wilderness EMT (emergency medical technician), an global soccer coach and a mountaineer.

Even officials don't travel to North Sentinel, where people live as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. He went on to graduate from Oral Roberts University, a Christian college in Oklahoma, in 2014, with a degree health and exercise science. In his bio, he said he was a follower of the Christian group "the Way", as well as a wilderness emergency medical technician and explorer. He was intent on making contact with the Sentinelese tribe on North Sentinel Island, according to his journals shared by his mother with The Washington Post. The 27-year-old was a self-proclaimed adventurer, but there have also been claims he was travelling to the island, which is off the coast of the Andaman Islands, as a missionary.


Chau was last seen alive on November 16.

The Sentinelese tribe who are believed to have killed John are an "uncontacted" people and have consistently opposed all attempts at contact with the outside world, often with violence.

"The fishermen saw the tribals tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body, said the source, adding that they were scared and fled but returned next morning to find his body on the seashore". "He wrote of maneuvering to avoid the Indian authorities who patrol the waters near the island".

"We do not even know how many of them are there", said Anvita Abbi, who has spent decades studying the tribal languages of India's Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Police sent a helicopter to conduct reconnaissance on Tuesday, and a separate team travelled to the area on Wednesday. A missionary who was in contact with Mr Chau says his aim was to bring the gospel to the island tribesmen.

"They were very well aware of the situation, but they still arranged for a boat and everything", said police official Deepak Yadav, a move he described as "pushing [Chau] in the mouth of death".

The law also bars tourism or photography of the Sentinelese and certain other tribes in the Andaman islands.

In Instagram posts and journals, Chau wrote that he found the remote Sentinel Island inspiring but frightening.

"Why does this handsome place have to be have so much death here?" he wondered hours before his death.


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