Sentinel tribesmen in stand-off with police over U.S. missionary's body

Sentinel tribesmen in stand-off with police over U.S. missionary's body

Sentinel tribesmen in stand-off with police over U.S. missionary's body

Chau, 26, was slain on North Sentinel Island, which is home to what is considered the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world and typically out of bounds to visitors, said Dependra Pathak, the director general of police in Andaman and Nicobar.

Pathak told AP that during the group's hours-long observation of the island, they took the opportunity to pinpoint where it was that the fishermen spotted Chau's body being dragged prior to his burial on November 17. He said Chau organised his visit to the island through a friend who hired seven fishermen to take him there on a boat, which also towed his kayak.

Meanwhile, Chau's family say they forgive the tribe for their actions and are not pushing for retribution. His body has not yet been recovered.

"If there is a death, then the cause of death should be known". Pathak said the tribespeople were armed with spears and bows but did not fire toward the outsiders, as they had done in the past. A similar incident was last reported in 2006 when two fishermen had strayed into the island and were killed by the tribe. Reuters is reporting Chau was attempting to convert the tribes people to Christianity. The Sentinelese, who scholars believe are descendants of Africans who migrated to the area about 50,000 years ago, survive on the small, forested island by hunting, fishing and gathering wild plants.

Chau's trip to the off-limits island was a foolhardy venture, and his actions were condemned internationally, especially for endangering the Sentinelese. "It was a sacrificial act".

Police approached the island on Saturday, positioning their boat approximately 400 metres off shore and looking through binoculars, but withdrew when they saw the Sentinelese lining up with bows and arrows.

The director-general of police on the Andaman and Nicobar island groups, Dependera Pathak, said authorities don't want to disturb the culture of the Sentinelese, who live largely as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

"We went in the morning and returned in the evening". It's a separate tribal group, they do not want outsiders.

According to reports, a police team took a boat to the island on November 24.

"We watched them from a distance and they watched us from a distance", he said. Officials were never able to reach the bodies, and no investigation into their deaths was opened.

"We are studying the 2006 case". "At this stage, we don't have any plan to confront our Sentinelese". "We are consulting anthropologists to see what kind of friendly gesture we can make".

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