John Allen Chau Sarah Prince/AP

John Allen Chau had just place a foot on the island of North Sentinel in the Andaman sea. The intruder was immediately surrounded by the natives before receiving a volley of arrows and being dragged to the ground with a rope around his neck, say the fishermen who had led him up here. The American 26-year-old was killed on 16 November last year, when he tried to enter in contact with the Sentinels. Only, this people of hunters-gatherers, which according to estimates some 150 members, living in isolation for centuries and does not hesitate to attack anyone who ventures too near them. The indian State banned elsewhere to approach to within five kilometers of the island. Seven people who helped him in his business have also been arrested by the authorities.

In a diary, which he has given to the fishermen and held until, in the hours before his death, John Chau explains to his family that pushed him into such an adventure. “You may think I am crazy to do all this, but I think it’s worth the trouble to bring Jesus to these people,” he wrote. “This is not in vain ; for the eternal lives of this tribe are at hand, and I look forward to see them worship God in their own language.” In a press release, published via the account Instagram of the deceased, their loved ones, held to excuse the gesture of the tribe. “He loved God, helping those in need, and he only had love for the people of the Sentinels”, they add.


on The eve of his death, the U.s. had already attempted a first incursion. According to his diary, that he had tried to communicate with them and offer them to the fish. “I shouted: “My name is John, I love you, and Jesus loves you,”” it, ” he says. John Chau then explains he panicked in front of the bows waved against him. A first arrow shot, according to him, by a teenager, stuck in his Bible. He has finally been able to return to swimming, the boat of the fishermen who had brought her here. “I DON’T WANT TO DIE!”, he notes later in capital letters. “Would it be more wise to leave and let someone else continue? No, I think not. I could return to the States because staying here would mean certain death.”

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“It is not impossible that the Sentinels come to be contaminated by infectious agents, deadly”

NGO for the protection of indigenous tribes, Survival International

The local fishermen explained that they had seen the day following his death the body of the deceased lying on the beach. It would have since been buried. Arises now the thorny issue of recovering the remains. A boat and a helicopter have been dispatched to try to locate it. “We have maintained a distance with the island and have not yet been able to identify the body. It can take several days and missions of reconnaissance,” said the AFP will depend Pathak, the chief of the regional police. The authorities have appealed to anthropologists, the indians and the specialists of the tribes and forest to decide the procedure to follow. Because any attempt of recovery of the body could expose the tribe of the Sentinel diseases.

But the damage may already be done. “It is not impossible that the Sentinels come to be contaminated by infectious agents, deadly against which they have no immunity, with the potential to eradicate the whole tribe,” alarm the NGOS for the protection of indigenous tribes, Survival International. According to them, the Sentinels are descended from the first human populations to be parts of Africa. They live in the Andaman islands for 60,000 years old. In 1879, their first contact with the rest of humanity has resulted in the removal by the british colonial authorities of several members of the tribe. Since then, all attempts at contact were met with hostility and violent rejection. The indian government has even officially renounced in the 1990s. More recently, two fishermen have derived during their sleep have been killed by the tribe.

In the meantime, in the absence of physical evidence of the death of his son, the mother of John Chau explains by e-mail to the Washington Post she thought of her son still living. Why? “My prayers.”

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