Indian authorities are reportedly unsure how they’ll be able to recover the body of John Chau, the American missionary who was killed by the remote Sentinelese tribe when he arrived on their island last week.
Chau had travelled to North Sentinel Island – which is one of the world’s most isolated places and it is illegal to go there as its people are protected by law – intending to convert the tribe to Christianity. However, as he neared the island, he was shot dead with a bow and arrow.
Having completed three expeditions to North Sentinel Island, Indian authorities are yet to work out how to safely recover Chau’s body, which was reportedly buried on the beach.
In an interview with the Associated Press about removing Chau’s body, Dependera Pathak – the director-general of Andaman and Nicobar Police – referred to the situation as ‘a difficult proposition’.
“We have to see what is possible, taking utmost care of the sensitivity of the group and the legal requirements,” Pathak said.
It is thought that North Sentinel Island is home to around 150 people. Credit: Indian Coastguard/Survival International
Sophie Grig, a senior research and advocacy officer at Survival International (a group that advocates for remote tribes), told BuzzFeed Newsshe doesn’t believe there’s any way of doing it safely, explaining: “I don’t believe there is any safe way to retrieve the body without putting both the Sentinelese and those attempting it at risk.“
She added: “Any incursion onto their island puts the Sentinelese at serious risk of diseases to which they’ll have no immunity.”
According to International Christian Concern, Chau had been keen to meet with the Sentinelese after hearing of their existence, and had made several trips to the nearby islands before finally paying the fishermen to get him out to North Sentinel.
A spokesperson for International Christian Concern said: “We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the reports of an American missionary being murdered in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to both John’s family and friends. A full investigation must be launched in this this murder and those responsible must be brought to justice.”
It is thought that the island is home to around 150 people, but they violently shun contact with the outside world – having been filmed firing arrows at a helicopter back in 2004, and killed two fishermen who accidentally drifted into their waters in 2006.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/johnachau