US adventure tourist shot dead with arrows by endangered tribe after ignoring ban on visiting island
John Allen Chau, a 27-year-old American tourist was reportedly shot dead with arrows by the Sentinelese tribe on North Sentinel Island.
The Sentinelese have never made contact with the outside world. Attempts to make contact are met with violent response, e.g helicopters being attacked with arrows and stones. India respects their wishes to be left alone.
He allegedly went hoping he could encourage the endangered tribe to convert to Christianity. Chau asked a local friend, an electronic engineer, to get a boat and find several fishermen and a water sports expert to help
They used “a wooden boat fitted with motors to travel to the island on November 15 and Chau used a canoe to reach the shore of the island. Chau returned later that day with arrow injuries. On November 16, the tribespeople broke his canoe. He came back to the boat swimming.
He did it again and did not come back on the 17th; the fishermen later saw the tribespeople dragging his body around.
Jatin Narwal, Superintendent of Police at Port Blair believed the traveler’s main aim was to meet the tribe. Seven fishermen have been arrested for illegally ferrying Chau to the island. Because contact with the tribe is forbidden, Chau’s killers cannot be held accountable.
Chau was working as an EMT. He was a Christian missionary according to International Christian Concern (ICC). ICC condemned his killing, ignoring the fact that he entered the island illegally. His friend called him a martyr for the Christian faith, “died out of love for these people to bring the good news of Jesus Christ.”
Stephen Corry, director of Survival International – which has long been campaigning to protect the indigenous tribes living in the Andamans, warns that 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 survive. They are also have no immunity towards flu and measles.
It’s not impossible that the Sentinelese have just been infected by deadly pathogens to which they have no immunity, with the potential to wipe out the entire tribe. The Sentinelese have shown again and again that they want to be left alone, and their wishes should be respected.