West & Central Africa

Cameroon bishop was murdered, autopsy reveals

An autopsy of the body of Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Bala has revealed that the Bishop was killed before the body was and thrown into the Sanaga river, about 4 hours before it was found.

The murder was disguised as a ‘suicide’ which authorities and a number of people close the Bishop openly questioned.
“The body removed from the waters of the Sanaga, according to one of the members of the college of doctors… had a stiffened arm, folded on his abdomen,” according to a report.

The team of doctors who carried out the autopsy consisted of two associate professors of medicine, one appointed by the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon and representative of the specialties of medicine concerning human anatomy.

The autopsy report reveals that Bishop Bala was tortured by his captors. There was inflammation of his genitals and “the lungs of the disappeared contained no drop of water.”

The report addas that “The state of the body also allowed the specialists to conclude that it has “spent a little less than 4 hours in the waters“,
An investigation into the death of the bishop has been directed by the Attorney General, at the Court of Appeal of the Center in Cameroon.

The death of the Bishop of Bafia, on 31 May 2017, has highlighted a number of suspicious deaths and disappearances of 14 other bishops and church leaders in Cameroon. Prominent among them is Bishop Yves Plumey, the Archbishop Emeritus of Garoua, north Cameroon, described by Pope John Paul II as, “Monsignor Yves Plumey, one of the great figures of the Cameroonian Church.” He was assassinated in Ngaoundéré on the night of September 3, 1991. All these deaths and disappearances have remained unresolved.