Family Forgives Tribal Members Who Allegedly Killed American 'Missionary'

Friday, 23 Nov, 2018

The family of a USA man reportedly killed by arrows fired by members of an endangered tribe in India's Andaman and Nicobar islands have said they forgive those who killed him. Chau, who kayaked to the remote island populated by a tribe known for shooting at outsiders with bows and arrows, has been killed, police said Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Two years previously, in the wake of the ruinous 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, a member of the group was photographed on a beach on the island, firing arrows at a helicopter sent to check on their welfare.

These islands had been excluded from the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime till December 31, 2022.

"The Indian government has adopted an "'eyes-on and hands-off' policy to ensure that no poachers enter (North Sentinel Island)", according to India's Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

The Indian government places heavy restrictions on visits to the island to keep people from getting in contact with the Sentinelese tribe, a remote indigenous tribe considered to be one of the last tribal societies untouched by civilization. They may be a unusual anachronism in these times, but they have been known to harm only those who try to break into their secluded lives. The arrow, he wrote, hit a Bible he was carrying.

"I'm scared", wrote the 26-year-old American from Washington State, who had travelled to the island on a clandestine mission to convert its inhabitants to Christianity. Details of their language - he said there are "lots of high-pitched sounds" - were also found in his diary. His notes, which were reported Thursday in Indian newspapers and confirmed by police, make clear he knew he might be killed. "Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed". "Would it be wiser to leave and let someone else to continue".

Local authorities are considering whether than can retrieve Mr Chau's body, Mr Pathak said. "He loved God, life, helping those in need, and he had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people". The only contacts, occasional "gift-giving" visits in which bananas and coconuts were passed by small teams of officials and scholars who remained in the surf, were years ago.

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According to information accessed through Chau's self-written journal he had gone to the kingdom for establishing the kingdom of Jesus.

I love you all and I pray none of you love anything in this world more than Jesus Christ. The Andamans once had other similar groups, long-ago migrants from Africa and Southeast Asia who settled in the island chain, but their numbers have dwindled dramatically over the past century as a result of disease, intermarriage and migration.

Yet Chau chose to return to the island and try again, galvanized by the feeling that he was God's instrument.

From the boat, the fishermen said Chau used a canoe to reach the shore on November 16. He was their beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend to them, they said.

On the boat to North Sentinel Island - travelling at night to avoid detection by authorities - Chau wrote of seeing bioluminescent plankton under a canopy of stars as fish jumped in and out of the water like "darting mermaids".

The tribe live on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Thailand and India. It was not clear if they have returned since then. He went on to graduate from Oral Roberts University, a Christian college in Oklahoma, in 2014, with a degree health and exercise science.