American believed to have been killed by isolated tribe in India

American believed to have been killed by isolated tribe in India

A 27 year-old American missionary was shot to death by an arrow-wielding tribe after trespassing on their protected island to try and convert them to Christianity.

An American man described in local media as either an adventure tourist or a Christian missionary has been killed by tribesman on North Sentinel island, Indian police said Wednesday.

The Sentinelese are an indigenous tribe living on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans.

The tribesmen who killed Chau can not be charged with his slaying, because any form of contact with them has been outlawed in a bid to protect their way of life.

The local police are now investigating and a case of murder had been registered, said the report.

The AFP news agency quoted a source as saying that Chau had tried and failed to reach the island on 14 November.

After several trips to the Andaman Islands, located in the Indian Ocean, Chau finally made it to the isolated island.

"We are aware of reports concerning a U.S. citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands", a spokeswoman for the United States consulate in Chennai said in an email. "He did not come back on the 17th; the fishermen later saw the tribespeople dragging his body around". Sentinelese tribe is an endangered community with a population of around 40 (Census of India, 2011) and are known to resist contact with the outside world. The police have arrested seven people, mostly fishermen, in connection with the murder of the American tourist. "The exact population of the tribe is not known, but it is declining".

In 2006, two Indian fishermen who moored their boat to sleep were killed when the vessel broke loose and drifted onto the shore, according to Survival International, a tribal rights advocacy group.

A USA consolate spokesman based in the Indian city of Chennai said they were aware of reports of Chau's death, and were working with local officials.

In the 1800s, the British "Officer in Charge of the Andamanese", MV Portman landed on the North Sentinel Island, in hope of establishing contact with the Sentinelese.

"Police said Chau had previously visited North Sentinel island about four or five times with the help of local fishermen", journalist Subir Bhaumik told the BBC.

After the tsunami one member of the tribe was photographed attempting to fire an arrow at an Indian Coast Guard helicopter.

Related Articles