Port Blair: John Allen Chau, the American tourist who was killed with arrows by a protected Sentinelese tribe in Andaman and Nicobar island, allegedly paid Rs 25000 to local fishermen to smuggle him into the island.

A statement issued by the US Consulate at Chennai read, “We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad are one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. When a US citizen goes missing, we work closely with local authorities as they conduct search efforts. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment to offer”.

According to local media, Chau was a missionary who wanted to meet the Sentinelese in order to preach Christianity.

The Andaman Sheekha newspaper quoted sources to report that Chau "visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands five times in the past and had a strong desire to meet Sentinelese Tribes for preaching Christianity."

Dependra Pathak, DGP, Andaman and Nicobar Police, in a press release issued late Wednesday evening, said, "They started on November 14 around 8 PM for the North Sentinel Island and reached there by midnight. The next day, Chau moved to shore using his kayak which he got towed with the fishing boat. After dropping him the fishermen fixed their timings and place to meet each other between the shoreline and their high sea fishing area".

Only people who have high-level access and permission can visit the protected areas as the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not only home to the protected tribes, but also has a large presence of the defence forces with sensitive installations.

The Andaman and Nicobar islands are home to six tribes - Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shompen.