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Date Posted: Thursday, November 22, 12:34:44pm
US ‘missionary’ shot dead with arrows by remote tribe ‘believed it was his calling from God
to convert them to Christianity’. John Allen Chau had reportedly visited the prohibited
North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean to preach Christianity to the tribe. ...
November 21, 2018
AN American tourist killed by a tribe on a remote Indian island felt he was called by God to bring the gospel to the uncontacted people.
North Sentinel Island is off-bounds to visitors and home to the Sentinelese, who killed John Allen Chau after he was illegally ferried there by fishermen, officials said.
Authorities say Chau had made several trips to the Andaman islands recently.
An American tourist has been killed by a tribe on North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean.
Brit Neil MacLeod met John on a transatlantic flight where he told him he felt it was his “calling” to reach the tribe.
John and Neil were both flying on their own from London to Phoenix, Arizona when they got chatting on the plane over their mutual love of football in October of 2015.
Neil told The Sun Online: “He had a very clear sense that he wanted to bring the word of God to those unreached people.
“He had a real profound sense of calling.”
“He was just a lovely guy to sit beside.
“We just had a number of points of common interest. First of all we started talking about football.
North Sentinel Island is off-bounds to visitors and home to the endangered tribe of the Sentinelese.
“He also talked about his work as an EMT working with FEMA in disaster zones.
“Then it turned out that he was a Christian, as am I, so we got onto discussing religion.
“It was then that he mentioned wanting to go to the Andaman Islands to spread the word of God.”
The 47-year-old lawyer from Edinburgh added: “He had a clear sense of wanting to go and I think he had just been in India scouting out how he would go about it.
“We chatted about the dangers of going to that part of the world, and he was well aware of the dangers of what he wanted to do.
“He wasn’t a person who had no sense of what he was doing, he was aware of the dangers.
“But equally he was a very warm and charismatic person, just a wonderful guy to spend time with.
The island is located in India's remote Andaman and Nicobar chain.
The Sentinelese are a community of hunter-gatherers who live there isolated from the outside world.
"A murder case has been registered," one of the officials told Reuters.
Because contact with the tribe is forbidden John's killers cannot be prosecuted despite taking a life.
He described himself on Instagram as a “Wilderness EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), “PADI Advanced Open Water Diver”, “Outbound Collective Explorer” and a “Snakebite Survivor”.
Just before he left in his kayak, Mr Chau handed the fishermen a long note.
Police say he had written that Jesus had bestowed him with the strength to journey to the most forbidden places on Earth.
A journal belonging him was also found by police where he wrote about his desire to spread God’s word.
One headache facing authorities is retrieving his body because contact with the tribe is forbidden.
Dependra Pathak, Director General of Police of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, told CNN: "We have a team out in the waters for reconnaissance and to strategise how to recover his body.
“The team consists of coastal guards, officials from tribal welfare department, forest department officers and police officials."
The 27-year-old was originally from Alabama, US but had travelled extensively around the world.
Both officials asked for anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media.
Chau, 27, had reportedly visited the island hoping to preach Christianity to the tribe.
Jatin Narwal, Superintendent of Police at Port Blair, told TNM that John was last seen alive on November 16.
He added: "He lived in Alabama, US. He is some kind of paramedic. He was on a misplaced adventure in prohibited area to meet uncontacted persons.
"People thought he is a missionary because he had mentioned his position on god and that he was a believer on social media or somewhere online.
"But in a strict sense, he was not a missionary. He was an adventurer. His intention was to meet the aborigines."
A source told AFP: "He tried to reach the Sentinel island on November 14 but could not make it. Two days later he went well prepared. He left the dinghy midway and took a canoe all by himself to the island.
"He was attacked by arrows but he continued walking. The fishermen saw the tribals tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body.
“They were scared and fled but returned next morning to find his body on the sea shore.”
When they got back to Port Blair on South Andaman Island they told a local preacher, who was a friend of Chau's, what had happened.
Cops have launched an investigation, Deepak Yadav, a police official in the island chain in the Bay of Bengal, said in a statement late on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the United States consulate in India's southern city of Chennai said in an email:
"We are aware of reports concerning a U.S. citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. …
"When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts," she added, but declined to provide further details over privacy concerns.
Reuters was not immediately able to trace contact details for a family member or representative of Chau.
One of the police sources said Chau, who had made previous visits to the islands, had a strong desire to meet the Sentinelese.
Chau hired a fishing dinghy and, aided by the fishermen, reached the vicinity of the island on Nov. 16, before transferring to a canoe, the official said.
His body, spotted the following day by the fishermen on their return, has not yet been retrieved, the official added, although the fishermen who took him there have been arrested.
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