US will not seek to prosecute remote North Sentinel Island tribe that killed American missionary
The United States government is not going to punish or prosecute the remote and uncontacted tribe responsible for the death of an American missionary who attempted to convert them to Christianity.
John Allen Chau, a 26-year-old man who originally hailed from Alabama, had travelled to the tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, intending to spread the gospel to the North Sentinelese people - despite the fact that attempting to do so was illegal. He was shot and killed by bow-and-arrow wielding tribesmen.
In a recent statement made to British tabloid newspaper The Sun, Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback claimed:
"The US government has not asked or pursued any sort of sanctions that the Indian government would take against the tribal people in this case. That's not been something that we have requested or have put forward. It's a tragic situation and a tragic case of what's happened, but that's not something that's been asked."
Meanwhile, the Missionary's father, Dr Patrick Chau, blamed 'extreme Christianity' for his death, stating: "John is gone because the Western ideology overpowered my [Confucian] influence ... If you have [anything] positive to say about religion, l wish not to see or hear [it]."
In one of his final letters to his family, Chau wrote passionately about the evangelical tendencies that led to his tragic demise, writing:
"Whether I return or not, let it be for the glory of the Lord. You guys might think I am crazy in all this but I think it's worth it to declare Jesus to these people. Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed.
"Rather, please live your lives in obedience to whatever He has called you to and I'll see you again when you pass through the veil. This is not a pointless thing. The eternal lives of this [Sentinelese] tribe is at hand and I can't wait to see them around the throne of God worshipping in their own language."
Survival International, an activist group which aims to defend the rights of native peoples, strongly condemned Chau's action, stating:
"[The Sentinelese] vigorously reject all contact with outsiders. It is vital that their wish to remain uncontacted is respected - if not, the entire tribe could be wiped out by diseases to which they have no immunity. Contact imposed upon other Andaman tribes has had a devastating impact."
This is not the first time that the Sentinelese people have killed outsiders with impunity. Back in 2004, they were famously filmed by a helicopter pilot firing arrows at his aircraft, and in 2006 they even went so far as to brutally kill two fishermen who accidentally drifted into their waters.