“God, I don’t want to die"
An Asian American tourist has been killed by endangered Sentinelese tribesmen.
According to The Washington Post, John Allen Chau was killed by Sentinelese tribesmen in the Andaman Islands.
Chau, 26, was an American missionary who documented his adventures on Instagram. He had traveled to the Andaman Islands to make contact with the Sentinelese tribe in an effort to spread the word of God.
Indian law prohibits access to the tribe, which is known to react with hostility towards outsiders.
Nonetheless, Chau paid local fisherman to take him to the tribe. He had already made two to three trips to the island this month but had always returned to his boat.
On 16 November, he instructed the fisherman to return home and not wait for him. The following morning, the fisherman saw his body being dragged across the beach and buried.
“This tragedy should never have been allowed to happen,” said Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, which advocates for tribal groups’ rights said. “It’s not impossible that the Sentinelese have just been infected by deadly pathogens to which they have no immunity, with the potential to wipe out the entire tribe.”
In journal notes Chau described the tribe as 5ft5 tall men with yellow paste on their faces, who reacted angrily when he tried to speak their language.
“I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you,’” he wrote in his journal shared by his mother.
One tribesman shot Chau with an arrow that pierced his Bible.
“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people,” he wrote in a final note to his family on 16 November. “God, I don’t want to die.”
In a post on Instagram, Chau’s family described him as “a beloved son, brother, uncle, and best friend to us.”
“To others he was a Christian missionary, a wilderness EMT, an international soccer coach, and a mountaineer. He loved God, life, helping those in need, and he had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people.”
The fishermen and a friend who assisted to take Chau to the tribe have been arrested, whilst police are investigating further.
However, the family have asked for those responsible to not be prosecuted. “We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death.” The family wrote on Instagram “We also ask for the release of those friends he had in the Andaman Islands. He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions.”
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