An American tourist, who was on an adventure trip to the Andaman Islands, was reportedly killed by the tribal members of Sentinelese Community at North Sentinel Island. The victim has been identified as 27-year-old John Allen Chau.
The American national had got in touch with a few fishermen, who are known to have helped him plan his trip. Chau then hired a fishing dinghy from Chidiyatapu area with their help, using which he reached close to the Island on November 16. After this, he travelled to the area on his own canoe, according to local newspaper Andaman Sheekha.
The 27-year-old intended to interact with the tribal members of the area, and preach Christianity. However, Chau was killed by the tribe, known to be reclusive and extremely protective of their lives and area, and his body was then recovered by local fishermen.
The police have been informed of the murder and several meetings have reportedly been held to discuss the matter and decide on the course of action. "After getting relevant information a murder case has been registered," the senior officer told the newspaper. The fishermen too have been arrested.
Chau, who was said to be staying in a hotel at the Dignabad area of Port Blair, had also tried to visit the North Sentinel Island on November 14. Before this, the US national had reportedly visited the Andaman Islands five times and intended to meet the tribe.
Who are the Sentinelese tribe?
The Sentinelese people of North Sentinel Island in the Andaman Islands of India are a part of a tribe, which is known to be extremely reclusive and have resisted contact with the outside world for years.
Also called the Sentineli or North Sentinel Islanders, they are known to be hunters and gatherers who survive through fishing, hunting and collecting wild plants. Until now, there have been no instances of the tribe being involved in agriculture or any such form of activity. However, they are known to make weapons out of objects and metals that wash up on the shore.
Designated as a scheduled tribe, the Sentinelese language too is unclassified.
While a few attempts to contact and interact with the tribe were made between the 1960s and the 1980s, things haven't really worked out as the members are known to attack any one who they think is intruding into their island. In 1967, the Indian government began a few expeditions to learn about the tribe, but was unsuccessful as the members had disappeared as soon as they saw outsiders on their land.
In 1981, a ship was stranded in the sea near the island and had to be evacuated by a helicopter on emergency as the tribe had threatened the crew with arrows and spears.
In the early 1990s, the Sentinelese people are known to have permitted vessels to come close to the island, sometimes even greeting the people. However, not much contact could be made as the tribe reportedly made menacing gestures and threatened to attack the visitors later.