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Man Killed by Remote Tribe Left 13-Page Letter Behind

John Allen Chau questioned whether the island was 'Satan’s last stronghold'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2018 6:00 AM CST
In this October 2018 photo, American adventurer John Allen Chau, right, stands for a photograph with Founder of Ubuntu Football Academy Casey Prince, 39, in Cape Town, South Africa, days before he left...   (AP Photo/Sarah Prince)

(Newser) – Parts of what John Allen Chau wrote over the last days of his life were shared in the wake of his death at the hands of a tribe on a remote island off India. On Friday, police officials shared what the New York Times describes as "part letter, part journal, in 13 pages with many cross-outs and messy scrawl." It's variously emotive and mundane, including things like directions and details of the exercises he did, and he reportedly told the fisherman who brought him near North Sentinel Island to pass it to a friend should something happen to him. The Times has excerpts, and the writings tell more of what he brought to the tribe—scissors, safety pins, and fishing line—and how he attempted to communicate with them.

Chau wrote that he sang worship songs and responded to the yells of one man, who was bedecked with a white, flower-like crown, by saying some words in Xhosa that he had picked up while in South Africa. "They would often fall silent after this," he wrote. On other occasions, they laughed. At one point he questioned whether the island was "Satan’s last stronghold." When the fisherman again brought him near the island on Nov. 16, he told them he planned to stay overnight, so they left him for the first time. On their pass by the island the next morning, they saw his body being dragged by a rope. The letter's last lines: "Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed. I love you all." The AP reports a second boat expedition involving police; forest department, tribal welfare department, and coast guard officials; and two of the people who helped Chau approach the island went near it on Friday in an attempt to locate where Chau died. (Read more John Allen Chau stories.)

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