Tribal rights group urges police to call off search for missionary John Chau's body

A tribal people's rights group urged Indian police on Monday to stop searching for the body of an American missionary who authorities suspect was killed by members of a tribe that resists the outside world, saying the search puts everyone involved at risk.

John Allen Chau, 26, was killed on or around Nov. 16 on North Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Friends of the evangelical adventurer said he was determined to bring Christianity to the Sentinelese tribe, whose members are known to attack anyone who approaches. Visits to North Sentinel Island are highly restricted by the Indian Government.

Indian police and officials from the forest department, tribal welfare department and coast guard have been consulting with anthropologists and psychologists to trying to figure out how to safely recover Chau's body. On Wednesday, officials used a Coast Guard boat to visit the island.

16 PHOTOS
John Chau, the Amerian allegedly killed by Sentinelese Tribe on remote island
See Gallery
John Chau, the Amerian allegedly killed by Sentinelese Tribe on remote island
So stoked to be an uncle to this future adventurer!
Kayaking the tropics in this endless summer. #offseason #adventure #tropics #orukayak #perkyjerky #wild #theoutbound #origamikayak #neverstopexploring
Hoodrats Unite. ••• Whatta man. THEE John Chau. Ladies, searchin for a man with a vision? Look no further. This guy follows Jesus no matter the cost. Literally. Can’t wait for what’s to come, but I enjoy each time we get to hang, hike, and chill, this time under the Hood. ••• Thx for leg day. See you soon, brosky. Keep sendin it. 🤙🏼
Summer days, cool nights, and mountain views. So thankful for these pals from Eastern Washington who met up with me for an overnighter! #mountains #mtadams #pnw #wilderness #wild #perkyjerky #explore #solideogloria
Happy Father's Day to my amazing Baba! He came to the US as a refugee during the Cultural Revolution and has overcome so many challenges. He's an incredible artist, doctor, landscaper, koi-pond-builder, electrician, carpenter, and best of all, a father to me, @huntingtheriverking, and @merchau. He's definitely one of my role models! #fathersday #bestfather #grandcanyon #refugee #theoutbound #perkyjerky #explorer
What an honor to have everyone’s favorite human with us this past month! John Chau you are FAMILY and we absolutely love you heart and soul. Thank you for sharpening our souls, making yard fires, fixing trees, weaving rope and everything in between. Till next time!
Apparently only the cool kids went to ORU... well, I missed that memo! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But such a good weekend hanging out and talking adventures with David’s buddies from the college days! . . . #Washingtondc #dc #orualumni #oru #adventures #exploremore #travelmore #vsco #vscocam
Snapshots from exploring the Trinity Alps High Route with @sethswank. #norcal #perkyjerky #bedrocksandals #mountaineering #springbreak #wild
Summit selfie with the one and only @thejeremybeiler. Great time catching up and sharing our year's wild adventures. Keep sending it, you wildman! #adventures #wild #dayhikes #socal #neverstopexploring #theoutbound #perkyjerky
Still can’t believe you were taken. It’s a comfort to know you’re with the Lord, but we’ll miss you 😢
Headed to the coast today with @wade_coetzee13 before he starts school tomorrow. Thanks for the beta on this spot, @alexwhitey24! #coastalvibes #pnw #theoutbound #perkyjerky #ubuntu #pacific #coast #explore
Throwback to four months ago when I was stuck in the ICU with a gnarly bite from a rattlesnake and a subsequent platelet count of 10. Thank you all for the support and prayers, and I'm stoked that I'm 100% recovered and didn't turn into Snakeman. #throwbackthursday #tbt #snakebite #california #wild #theoutbound #icu #envenomation #solideogloria #snakes #perkyjerky PC: @lindsay_gerrity
Had a great time hanging out with @sethswank in Kansas City - throwing axes, exploring downtown, sharing stories from the past with college pals, and celebrating his wedding to @courtney.swank I'm grateful for his friendship and for all of the wild and crazy adventures we've had, and I'm super stoked for them both as they start this new adventure in life together! #adventureawaits
So good seeing these folks out in New Jersey at @danielpmccarthy822 and @kylamccarthy_ 's wedding. It's hard to imagine that seven years ago Danny, JD, and I were summer camp counselors at @campolympia1968, and the following year we and Griff and Brooke and other friends would all be spending a month in Cape Town, South Africa with @oru_missions. Time sure flies by but thank God for such incredible friends and wonderful memories! #friends #weddingseason #longhair #whatsworthit #livethestory #adventure #summer PC: Griffith Poindexter
I'm so proud of these young men! I had no idea that they would be playing in Oklahoma's 6A state soccer final today and am so grateful to have been able to watch them play. I can't believe how much they've grown, and I can't wait to see them continue to grow and positively impact not just their local community but also those around the world! Keep up the good work, brothers! #morethanagame #myanmarfc #futbol #solideogloria #oklahoma
Dayhiked San Gorgonio (11,503 ft) in my @bedrocksandals. Started at 0730, summited at 1200, and got back to the trailhead at 1600. Total distance: 18.6 miles and 5,422 ft of elevation gained. Fun times with @thejeremybeiler as he heads down south with @thepanamericantrail on their wild and epic motorcycle journey from Alaska to Argentina, climbing along the way. #neverstopexploring #theoutbound #perkyjerky #bedrocksandals #mountainhardwear #patagonia #wildplaces #dayhikes #socal
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

But Survival International, a global advocacy nonprofit for tribespeople, urged officials to call off the search, saying it puts them and the tribespeople in danger.

"The risk of a deadly epidemic of flu, measles or other outside disease is very real, and increases with every such contact. Such efforts in similar cases in the past have ended with the Sentinelese attempting to defend their island by force," said Survival International director Stephen Corry. “Mr Chau’s body should be left alone, as should the Sentinelese."

Chau had interacted with the tribespeople before, bringing gifts like a football and fish, according to a news release from police. But a day or two before his death, a boy had shot an arrow at him, according to journal entries.

He again tried to approach the tribespeople on Nov. 16, but the fisherman who had helped him journey to the island watched the next day as tribesmen dragged Chau's body. Seven fisherman who helped Chau reach the island have been arrested.

Chau's family said in a statement posted on his Instagram account last week that he "had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people."

“We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death. We also ask for the release of those friends he had in the Andaman Islands," they added. "He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions."

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.