American John Allen Chau was on a mission to bring his version of Jesus and Christianity to the remote North Sentinel Island in Andamans, which is located in the Indian Ocean’s Bay of Bengal and home to the Sentinelese tribe, which is one of the few isolated tribes in the world. Consequently, the 26-year-old from Washington state was reportedly killed.
In a series of journal entries published by The Washington Post, Chau wrote: “Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name?”
To be clear, Chau did not know what “name” was spoken by the Sentinelese tribe, considering outsiders do not know their language and it is illegal to go to the island under Indian Law. “The complete isolation of the Sentinelese people means contact with the outside world could put them at risk, as they are likely to have no immunity to even common illnesses such as flu and measles,” the BBC reported.
Nonetheless, Chau was insistent upon going to the island. He reportedly paid for a small fishing vessel to take him to the island in the middle of the night. He wrote in his journal, “God Himself was hiding us from the Coast Guard and many patrol.” He wrote that he was “doing this to establish the kingdom of Jesus on the island… Do not blame the natives if I am killed.”
When he arrived on the island, according to his journal, he made eye contact and tried to sing “worship songs.” He wrote, “I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you.’”
The Sentinelese people were known to use bows and arrows to shoot at intruders, a teenager reportedly shot at him, piercing his Bible. Chau left before deciding to return, even after such a clear warning. In his final entry on Nov. 16, Chau wrote, “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people… God, I don’t want to die.”
On his last trip, Chau was reportedly killed with arrows, according to some fishermen, seven of whom were arrested for helping him get to the island, claimed they saw his body “being dragged and then buried.”
Chau’s family released the following statement, “We recently learned from an unconfirmed report that John Allen Chau was reportedly killed in India while reaching out to members of the Sentinelese Tribe in the Andaman Islands. Words cannot express the sadness we have experienced about this report.” They also asked for the release of the seven fishermen. See below:
Authorities said it would be difficult to find the body.
“We maintained a distance from the island and have not yet been able to spot the body. It may take some more days and… [reconnaissance] of the area,” local law enforcement sid. “We have to take care that we must not disturb them or their habitat by any means. It is a highly sensitive zone and it will take some time.”
Our condolences go out to the family of John Allen Chau. That said, we hope the lives of the Sentinelese people will not be disrupted on a search to find Chau’s body or seek “justice” for an American who apparently broke the law.