A US tourist was killed by tribals by in Indian Andaman and Nicobar Islands, according to media reports in India. Seven fishermen who took 27-year-old John Allen Chau to North Sentinel Island, where the indigenous Sentinelese people live, have been arrested, according to the police.
Sentinelese People in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Sentinelese, whose population in 2011 was estimated at 40, are known to resist contact with the outside world. Activists say the tribes are at threat from outsiders, who often bribe locals to access them.
Till recently, the North Sentinel Island was out of bounds for visitors. In a major step earlier this year, the government excluded this island and 28 others in the Union Territory from the Restricted Area Permit or RAP regime till December 31, 2022.
The lifting of RAP means foreigners can go to the island without permission from the government, PTI reported. The strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not only home to the protected tribes but also has a substantial presence of the Indian defence forces.
The fishermen told the police that they last saw the US man facing a flurry of arrows after he landed on the island towards the southern Andamans on November 16. The tribes dragged the American to the beach, they said, adding that minutes later as they were sailing away they saw Mr Chau’s body half-buried in the sand.
“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 dingy midway and took a canoe all by himself to the island,” a source told news agency AFP. “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 seashore,” the source said.
The police in the islands arrested the fishermen and questioned the preacher after the US officials informed them of the incident. The authorities in the Union Territory have launched helicopter search teams to look for the body. They said the helicopters are unable to land at the island as the Sentinelese are hostile to any attempt at approaching them.