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Bow-and-arrow tribe kills American on remote island, police in India say

Image: Clouds hang over the North Sentinel Island, in India's southeastern
North Sentinel Island is a protected area and not open to tourists. -
Gautam Singh
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NEW DELHI — An American is believed to have been killed by an isolated Indian island tribe that is known to fire at outsiders with bows and arrows, police said Wednesday.

Police officer Vijay Singh said the killing apparently occurred on North Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The Sentinelese people who live there on are known to resist all contact with outsiders, often attacking anyone who comes near.

Visits to the small, forested island are heavily restricted by the government and seven fishermen have been arrested for facilitating the American's trip, Singh said.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands at located at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands at located at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.Google Maps

Indian media reports said the American was on an adventure trip to the archipelago and his body was found by the fishermen. However, Singh said the police were in the process of recovering the body.

Singh said the man was killed on Saturday but declined to give any other details.

The U.S. consulate in Chennai, the capital of southern Tamil Nadu state, was aware of the reports concerning an American in the islands, but spokeswoman Kathleen Hosie declined to comment further due to privacy considerations.

Shiv Viswanathan, a social scientist and a professor at Jindal Global Law School, said North Sentinel Island was a protected area and not open to tourists. "The exact population of the tribe is not known, but it is declining. The government has to protect them."

Poachers are known to fish illegally in the waters around the island, catching turtles and diving for lobsters and sea cucumbers. Tribespeople killed two Indian fishermen in 2006 when their boat broke loose and drifted onto the shore.