The American tourist on an adventure trip to the Andaman Islands, who was reportedly killed by the tribal members of the Sentinelese Community at North Sentinel Island, is said to have paid Rs 25,000 to the locals and the fishermen to take him to the area.
The victim was identified as 27-year-old John Allen Chau from Alabama and was staying in a hotel at the Dignabad area of Port Blair. He had reportedly gone to the island as he wanted to interact with the reclusive tribe members and preach about Jesus.
"We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. When a US citizen goes missing, we work closely with local authorities as they conduct search efforts. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment to offer," a statement issued by the US Consulate at Chennai read.
The police got to know of the incident after receiving an email from the US Consulate General on November 19, which said that Chau's mother had said that he was missing from the North Sentinel island and might have been attacked by the members of the tribe.
After an investigation, DGP, Andaman & Nicobar Police, Dependra Pathak said in a press statement that Chau been killed on a "misplaced adventure in the highly restricted area while trying to interact with the un-contacted people who have a history of vigorous rejection towards outsiders."
The police said that a murder case had been registered and the fishermen who smuggled Chau into the island have also reportedly been arrested. While some fishermen told the police that they saw a dead body being buried at the shore, the police haven't been able to retrieve Chau's body yet.
The police are now said to be working with anthropologists and tribal welfare experts to come up with a strategy to get back the tourist's body.
How did Chau reach the North Sentinel Island?
The American national had got in touch with a few fishermen, who are known to have helped him plan his trip. The police said that the group then left for the North Sentinel Island around 8 pm on November 14 and reached around midnight.
On November 15, Chau went to the shore on his kayak, and told the fishermen to pick him up later. "In the morning of 17.11.2018, the fishermen saw a dead person being buried at the shore which, from the silhouette of the body, clothing and circumstances, appeared to be the body of John Allen Chau," Pathak explained.
The fishermen then went back to Port Blair and informed of the incident to Chau's friend, who then told his family in the US.
Chau was aware of the dangers
A journal written by Chau was also discovered by the police in which he has said that he did not want to die. However, he had added: "Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed," according to the News Minute.
Friends and family remember Chau
Chau's family has posted a statement on Instagram remembering the 27-year-old.
"Words cannot express the sadness we have experienced about this report," his family said. "He loved God, life, helping those in need, and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people."
Chau once worked with the Oral Roberts University, where he was a part of the missions and outreach department. The director of the department too remembered him as a "courageous, selfless and a compassionate man."
"John lived and gave his life to share the love of Jesus with everyone," the Associated Press quoted Bobby Parks as saying.
One of Chau's friends Casey Prince also told AP that he was "kind, joyful, and easy to like." "He was an explorer at heart," Prince said. "He loved creation and being out in it, I think having probably found and connected with God that way, and deeply so."
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 Sentinel 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.