Killed American missionary paid Rs 25,000 to evade security, wanted to preach Christianity to the Sentinelese tribe

By: | Published: November 22, 2018 5:40 PM

This endangered tribe still survive by its prehistoric ways of living such as collecting wild plants, hunting and fishing. They are hostile to any external contact and are known for violently attacking, anyone who tresspasses, with their bows, arrows and spears.

John Allen Chau, American missionary, North Sentinel Island, Andaman and Nicobar, Dependra Pathak, Sentinelese tribes, Indian OceanIn his first attempt, Chau gave gifts including a football and fish to the sentinelese and interacted with some of them. (Image: Chau’s Instagram)

John Allen Chau, 27-year-old American missionary, who is believed to be killed by the tribesmen in Andaman’s North Sentinel Island came to the country on a tourist visa and had a strong desire to visit one of the world’s most protected areas.

In his first attempt, Chau gave gifts including a football and fish to the sentinelese and interacted with some of them. This endangered tribe still survive by its prehistoric ways of living such as collecting wild plants, hunting and fishing. They are hostile to any external contact and are known for violently attacking, anyone who tresspasses, with their bows, arrows and spears.

Also Read | American preacher killed on Andaman’s protected North Sentinel island

Chau also met the same fate as a tribesman shot an arrow at him. The arrow stuck a book he was carrying, according an acquaintance it was a copy of Bible. Chau then swam back to a fishing boat that was waiting for him at a safe distance. He wrote about his visit to the island that night and left a note for fishermen who brought him there and returned to the island the next day, on November 16.

It is not clearly known that what took place afterwards, but the next morning fishermen noticed tribesmen dragging a body along the beach which they believed was of Chau’s.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ director-general of police Dependra Pathak on Wednesday said that they have arrested seven fishermen who helped the missionary in his illegal and fatal adventure. The govt heavily restricts visits to North Sentinel Island but officials are trying to work out a plan with the help of anthropologists to retrieve Chau’s body.

According to fishermen’s description, Chau is believed to be shot and killed by arrows. But authorities will only be able to ascertain the real cause of his death once his body is recovered.

Some media reports suggest that Chau paid local fishermen Rs 25,000 to slip pass the patrolling teams of police, coast guards and the Navy and to reach the home-island of the Sentinelese tribe in Andaman and Nicobar. Media report also add that Chau, who was a missionary, wanted to convert the isolated tribe to Christianity. According to a report in Andaman Sheekha newspaper, a local daily, Chau had visited the Island chain five times in the past. He had strong desire to meet the tribes of North Sentinel and to preach them Christianity, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, Chau’s family in an Instagram post said they were mourning their “beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend.” They also said that the family forgave his killers and also called for the release of people who helped him in reaching the island. “He went there on his own free will and his contacts in the island need not be persecuted for his actions,” the family said.

 

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John Allen Chau

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Sentinelese tribes survived the tsunami of 2004 that hit north Indian Ocean region without the help of anyone from the outside world. During the 2011 Census, enumerators could only see 15 Sentinelese people, of which 12 were men and three women. Experts however say that their numbers could be anything from 40 and 400.

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