The tribe who made headlines for killing an intruder – American Missionary John Allen Chau – are apparently in huge danger of being wiped out.

Chau paid fishermen to take him to the island, within India’s Andaman islands, to try and convert the tribespeople to Christianity. Though it is illegal to make contact with the tribespeople, or even step foot on the island, the missionary went twice, being attacked both times and ultimately killed on his second visit.

As reports have it, the 27-year-old was killed when the tribespeople fired arrows at him and fisherman later saw his body being dragged away.

Attempts have been made to recover the body of Chau but the police have been met with hostility from the North Sentinel tribe.

Now though, Survival International – who campaign for the rights of tribespeople – have said that the North Sentinel tribe is in grave danger.

As more people endeavour to visit the island, the tribes-people are at risk of contracting illnesses that outsiders carry. Since they’ve had little-to-no contact with the outside world, their immune systems would not be able to cope with the plethora of modern ailments.

Diseases would spread across the close-knit tribe dangerously fast, which could lead to mass fatalities.

Survival International’s director, Stephen Corry, said:

This tragedy should never have been allowed to happen. The Indian authorities should have been enforcing the protection of the Sentinelese and their island for the safety of both the tribe, and outsiders.

Instead, a few months ago the authorities lifted one of the restrictions that had been protecting the Sentinelese tribe’s island from foreign tourists, which sent exactly the wrong message, and may have contributed to this terrible event.

It’s not impossible that the Sentinelese have just been infected by deadly pathogens to which they have no immunity, with the potential to wipe out the entire tribe.

The Sentinelese have shown again and again that they want to be left alone, and their wishes should be respected. The British colonial occupation of the Andaman Islands decimated the tribes living there, wiping out thousands of tribespeople, and only a fraction of the original population now survive. So the Sentinelese fear of outsiders is very understandable.

Uncontacted tribes must have their lands properly protected. They’re the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Whole populations are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like the flu and measles to which they have no resistance.

Tribes like the Sentinelese face catastrophe unless their land is protected. I hope this tragedy acts as a wake up call to the Indian authorities to avert another disaster and properly protect the lands of both the Sentinelese, and the other Andaman tribes, from further invaders.

Rather bizarrely and quite sickeningly, some holiday companies offer safari experiences to some of the less protected islands, which also pose threats to tribes, as their territory is encroached on and people probe further into the societies.

At present, not much is known about the police’s movements on the Sentinelese people. Ultimately it goes without saying that murder is illegal and while the tribes-people don’t subscribe to our law, and Chau was breaking laws himself by visiting them, it provides an uncertain grey area for authorities to explore.

Miriam Ross, also from Survival International, said:

We continue to emphasise that there should be no further attempts to contact the Sentinelese, urging the administration of the Andaman Islands to adhere to this by putting a stop to poaching around the island, which led to the deaths of two fishermen in 2006.

Any human contact will ultimately lead to tragic consequences on both sides.

Images via Times of India, Atlas&Boots, Instagram