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Bishop’s autopsy reveals signs of murder

Medics have disclosed Bishop Jean-Marie Benoit Balla was murdered. Going by local media reports, an autopsy conducted on the Bishop’s…

Medics have disclosed Bishop Jean-Marie Benoit Balla was murdered.

Going by local media reports, an autopsy conducted on the Bishop’s lifeless body showed clear signs of violent death, and no evidence of death by drowning,

The media claims the Bishop of Bafia’s death may be linked to his plans to expose the government’s involvement in the death of a priest. According to Cameroon media outfit L’Anecdote, which purportedly obtained a confidential autopsy report Monday, the Bishops’s body showed clear signs of torture and murder. The leaked document reveals details of a medical examination conducted by a committee of doctors, one appointed by the national bishops’ conference. The formal conclusions declare that Bala did not commit suicide, as previously thought, but rather that he was killed and thrown into the Sanaga River only four hours before his body was found Friday.

The bishop’s body was discovered not far from a bridge where his car had been found, with a note saying, “I am in the water.” Police initially believed that this was a suicide note, but as investigation unfolded, many started questioning if the bishop himself had written the note.

The Catholic Church in Cameroon has suffered a number of suspicious deaths over the years:

  • In October 1988, Fr. Joseph Mbassi, a journalist, was murdered while investigating the arms trade in Cameroon. His body was found in his room bloodied and mangled on the morning of October 26.
  • Abbot Bernabé Zambo of the archdiocese of Bertoua died on March 24, 1989. Media speculate he was poisoned by someone as an act of revenge.
  • Father Anthony Fontegh of Kumbo was murdered in 1990.
  • Bishop Yves Plume was strangled to death in his room in Ngaoundéré at the Minor Seminary in September.
  • In 1992, Fr. Amougou of Sangmelima was killed in his rectory.
  • On April 23, 1995, Fr. Engelbert Mveng was found strangled to death with a gash in his head, and no items stolen from his room.
  • On April 21, 2001, Fr. Apollinaire Claude Ndi of Nkoltob was found murdered by an unknown man in Yaoundé.
  • On Christmas Eve, 2008, Fr. François Xavier Mekong’s body was discovered in one of the showers of the rectory.

Meanwhile, the Holy See has appointed Bp. Abraham Kome of the diocese of Bafang to be apostolic administrator of Bafia until a more permanent appointment.


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