Port Blair: An American visitor was killed by a protected tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the police said on Wednesday. Seven fishermen who took the 27-year-old John Allen Chau to North Sentinel Island, where the indigenous Sentinelese people live, have been arrested, they said.
The North Sentinel Island, off-bounds to visitors, is home to the Sentinelese. The community of hunter-gatherers of the islands in India's remote Andaman and Nicobar chain live there isolated from the outside world.
According to the police, the tourist was illegally ferried there by fishermen.
"A murder case has been registered," one of the officers told Reuters.
The police have launched an investigation, Deepak Yadav, a police officer in the island chain in the Bay of Bengal, said in a statement late on Tuesday.
"We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands," a spokeswoman for the United States consulate in Chennai said in an email.
"When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts," she added, but declined to provide further details over privacy concerns.
Reuters was not immediately able to trace contact details for a family member or representative of Chau.
One of the police sources said Chau, who had made previous visits to the islands, had a strong desire to meet the Sentinelese.
Chau hired a fishing dinghy and, aided by the fishermen, reached the vicinity of the island on Nov 16, before transferring to a canoe, the officer said.
His body, spotted the following day by the fishermen on their return, has not yet been retrieved, the official added, although the fishermen who took him there have been arrested.