Man who tried to convert tribe to Christianity was shot to death with arrows

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By James Kay

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An American missionary who set out to convert a tribe to Christianity was shot dead by arrows, in a case that gained worldwide attention.

John Allen Chau, 27, driven by his beliefs, had paid local fishermen to transport him to the remote North Sentinal island, which is a secluded territory in India's Andaman Islands, per the Daily Mail.

The island is inhabited by the Sentinelese tribe, who are known for their isolation from the outside world.

Despite being well aware of the dangers, Chau remained determined to fulfill what he believed was his divine calling of spreading Christianity to the indigenous people living on the island.

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John Chau was attempting to reach North Sentinal Island. Credit: DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/Getty

Neil MacLeod, a friend who met the missionary on a flight from London to Phoenix, Arizona in 2015, revealed to the Mail that Chau had been planning this missionary journey for a significant period, driven by his commitment to help the isolated tribe.

"I saw him reading some Christian literature and I'm a Christian and we started talking," MacLeod explained. "He mentioned that he wanted to go to these islands, the islands where he has now died."

"He recognized the dangers of traveling there, but I think he had a sense of call," MacLeod continued, emphasizing Chau's unwavering dedication to his mission.

Chau's encounter with the Sentinelese took a tragic turn as he set foot on the forbidden island. The tribe, known for their hostility toward outsiders, responded with a barrage of arrows.

Chau pressed on but he was eventually killed by the tribe who reportedly tied a rope around his neck and dragged his lifeless body away, according to the fishermen who aided his journey.

Indian authorities swiftly took action, arresting seven fishermen who had facilitated Chau's ill-fated expedition.

While a murder case has been registered against "unknown tribesmen," the Sentinelese themselves remain beyond legal reach due to strict protections aimed at preserving their unique way of life and safeguarding them from potential diseases.

Those who knew Chau described him as a warm, engaging individual with a genuine desire to help others. He had previously engaged in relief efforts during significant global incidents, further underlining his commitment to aiding those in need.

His mission also ignited discussions about the delicate balance between preserving the cultures of isolated tribes and fulfilling religious or humanitarian objectives.

William Stark, a regional manager at the International Christian Concern, said of Chau's death: "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 into this murder and those responsible must be brought to justice. India must take steps to counter the growing wave of intolerance and violence."

The incident has drawn attention to the larger issue of protecting isolated tribes and their territories. Survival International, an organization advocating for the rights of indigenous tribes, criticized the lifting of restrictions on visiting North Sentinel Island, which potentially contributed to this unfortunate event.

Featured image credit: DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/Getty

Man who tried to convert tribe to Christianity was shot to death with arrows

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

An American missionary who set out to convert a tribe to Christianity was shot dead by arrows, in a case that gained worldwide attention.

John Allen Chau, 27, driven by his beliefs, had paid local fishermen to transport him to the remote North Sentinal island, which is a secluded territory in India's Andaman Islands, per the Daily Mail.

The island is inhabited by the Sentinelese tribe, who are known for their isolation from the outside world.

Despite being well aware of the dangers, Chau remained determined to fulfill what he believed was his divine calling of spreading Christianity to the indigenous people living on the island.

size-full wp-image-1263223523
John Chau was attempting to reach North Sentinal Island. Credit: DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/Getty

Neil MacLeod, a friend who met the missionary on a flight from London to Phoenix, Arizona in 2015, revealed to the Mail that Chau had been planning this missionary journey for a significant period, driven by his commitment to help the isolated tribe.

"I saw him reading some Christian literature and I'm a Christian and we started talking," MacLeod explained. "He mentioned that he wanted to go to these islands, the islands where he has now died."

"He recognized the dangers of traveling there, but I think he had a sense of call," MacLeod continued, emphasizing Chau's unwavering dedication to his mission.

Chau's encounter with the Sentinelese took a tragic turn as he set foot on the forbidden island. The tribe, known for their hostility toward outsiders, responded with a barrage of arrows.

Chau pressed on but he was eventually killed by the tribe who reportedly tied a rope around his neck and dragged his lifeless body away, according to the fishermen who aided his journey.

Indian authorities swiftly took action, arresting seven fishermen who had facilitated Chau's ill-fated expedition.

While a murder case has been registered against "unknown tribesmen," the Sentinelese themselves remain beyond legal reach due to strict protections aimed at preserving their unique way of life and safeguarding them from potential diseases.

Those who knew Chau described him as a warm, engaging individual with a genuine desire to help others. He had previously engaged in relief efforts during significant global incidents, further underlining his commitment to aiding those in need.

His mission also ignited discussions about the delicate balance between preserving the cultures of isolated tribes and fulfilling religious or humanitarian objectives.

William Stark, a regional manager at the International Christian Concern, said of Chau's death: "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 into this murder and those responsible must be brought to justice. India must take steps to counter the growing wave of intolerance and violence."

The incident has drawn attention to the larger issue of protecting isolated tribes and their territories. Survival International, an organization advocating for the rights of indigenous tribes, criticized the lifting of restrictions on visiting North Sentinel Island, which potentially contributed to this unfortunate event.

Featured image credit: DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/Getty