Described as a "Christian missionary" and an adventurer, a 27-year-old US man was shot with bows and arrows, possibly on November 16, by an isolated Sentinelese tribe when he ventured into their territory in the Andaman Islands.
Soon after reports of the death of the US man from Alabama, police announced that 7 fishermen who took 27-year-old John Allen Chau to North Sentinel Island, where the indigenous Sentinelese people live, were arrested. He had reportedly paid fishermen Rs. 25,000 for smuggling him to the island.
In a post on John Chau's Instagram account late last night, the man's family spoke about John Allen Chau's adventure and called for the release of his "friends" in Andaman.
The post firstly confirms that John Chau belonged to a Christian missionary and had "nothing but love for the Sentinelese people." It also says that the American ventured out on his free will and that his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions. The family, through the post, said they "forgive those reportedly responsible for his death and asked for the release of those "friends" he had in the Andaman Islands.
According to the police, the fishermen who ferried John Chau to the island late on the night of November 14 told them that they had anchored their boat about 500 metres from the beach. The next day, the American rowed to the island in a canoe he had brought along, carrying a Bible.
The fishermen saw the Sentinelese shoot arrows at Mr Chau, but he kept going forward.
Early on November 17, the fishermen saw some Sentinelese tribals drag a body resembling that of Mr Chau to the beach and bury it in the sand.
In a statement referring to the fishermen, the police said yesterday that despite knowing fully well about the illegality of the action and the hostile attitude of the Sentinelese tribesmen to the outsiders, these people collaborated with John Chau for this visit to North Sentinel Island without any permission from the authorities.
The DGP had also denied any security lapse. "The fishermen and Mr Chau planned their movements in such a way that they appeared to be fishing in the open waters whenever patrol vessels sighted them. Once they had passed by, the boat moved back into prohibited waters," he had said.
The full post by the family: