Journal Reveals Last Days of Man Killed By Isolated Tribe

John Allen Chau

In excerpts from his journal, John Allen Chau, the American, said that he reached North Sentinel Island - one of the world's most isolated regions in India's Andaman islands that is off-limits to visitors - in his kayak on November 15.

"Police will interrogate [the accused] to investigate various aspects of the case, including the sequence of events, the sea route followed for North Sentinel Island, the location where the victim landed and the place of the incidence, the location where John Allen Chau was last seen", the police said.

Indian authorities have been trying to figure out a way to recover Chau's body after he was killed last week by islanders who apparently shot him with arrows and then buried his body on the beach.

In an Instagram post, his family said it was mourning him as a "beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend to us". A team of police and forest department officials used a coast guard boat to visit the island Wednesday and another visit was planned Thursday. The fishermen in custody told officials they saw the tribespeople on shore dragging his body around before they left.

India's government has stuck to an "eyes-on and hands-off" policy to ensure that poachers do not enter North Sentinel Island, according to the country's Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

In pages left with the fishermen who facilitated his trip to the island, his musings are a clear indication of his desire to convert the tribe.

"We also ask for the release of those friends he had in the Andaman Islands".

Foreigners and Indians are banned from going within five kilometres of the island, to protect the Sentinelese, believed to number about 150, from outside disease.

"What language they speak, how old it is, it's anybody's guess", Abbi said. "Nobody has access to these people".

He further said that the Andaman Islands, among the islands thrown open, are inhabited by Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) and the indigenous Nicobar Islanders whose lives can be at risk if there are incursions.

Chau had previously visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands four times, according to the Washington Post report. "So much is lost: People are lost, language is lost, their peace is lost".

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".

Any contact with such isolated people can be unsafe, scholars say, with islanders having no resistance to diseases outsiders carry.

"He invited that aggression", PC Joshi, professor of social anthropology at Delhi University in India's capital, told The Associated Press news agency. "He took gifts to them and carried his Bible because he wanted to befriend the Sentinelese to share Jesus with them", said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Covenant Journey, a Christian organization. "In the meeting, when the governor was also present, we had decided we should look at understanding them first", Sai said.

Described as "arguably the most enigmatic people on our planet", by Norwegian geneticist Erika Hagelberg, the wider group of Andaman Islanders, which comprises several distinct tribal groups, was largely isolated until the island chain was turned into a British penal colony in the 19th century.

Brief visits have been paid to the island, but the Sentinelese remain untouched by modern civilisation.

In a world of globalisation, the Sentinelese are one of the few tribes that are not in contact with the rest of the world and they are doing what they can to keep it that way.



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