Three men arrested after helping Christian 'missionary' travel to forbidden island where he was killed
Earlier this week, reports emerged that John Allen Chau had been killed by the tribespeople of North Sentinel Island after ignoring countless warnings in order to visit the remote location.
The 27-year-old American had allegedly journeyed to the island with the intention of preaching Christianity, and in a final letter to his family said: "You guys might think I'm crazy in all of this but I think it's worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people ... God, I don't want to die."
Now, it has emerged that three men have been arrested in connection with assisting him in his mission to reach the island.
According to statements from law enforcement officials:
"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.
"Further, the personal diary/journal of Chau will be analysed afresh accordingly. It will also be ascertained whether the victim had taken the help of these fishermen or others to venture to the North Sentinel Island on earlier occasions."
Those who have been apprehended are thought to have taken Chau at least part of the way to North Sentinel Island and accepted bribes of Rs 25,000 ($350) in order to do so. While they did not drop him off at the island, they entered the waters of the region, which is a tribal reserve and only open to people who get requisite permissions from official channels.
Chau had visited the Andaman Islands, where North Sentinel Island is located, on at least five other occasions, but had not come into contact with the Sentinelese before.
He was last seen alive on November 16th. On the morning of November 17th, the men who allegedly assisted him in his journey reported seeing a dead body being buried by the tribespeople. They could tell it was Chau from his clothing.
According to an anonymous source who spoke to Reuters, Chau had taken scissors, safety pins, and a football as gifts to the tribe, and went with the intention of winning their favour. He wrote in his journal that he was "doing this to establish the kingdom of Jesus on the island... Do not blame the natives if I am killed," the source said.
Because of the laws protecting the island, it will be difficult - if not impossible - to retrieve Chau's body.
His family have been very understanding of the situation, and have asked that nobody be prosecuted for Chau's death. A great deal of online commentary has suggested the same, with many people arguing that the tribe should be left alone as they wish.
The last time they killed someone (which was in 2006, when a fisherman - presumed to be drunk - strayed onto their shores), the Indian government elected not to prosecute any members of the tribe, as they are considered to be independent.