7, July 2017
Bishop Balla Affair: Biya regime gave the “European Interpol” doctors the body of another man to examine 0
A new autopsy conducted on a Cameroon bishop, who died under mysterious circumstances last month, is contradicting the findings of previous autopsies, which indicate the prelate died of foul play instead of suicide by drowning.
The body of Bishop Jean-Marie Benoît Bala of the diocese of Bafia had been recovered June 2 by authorities from the Sanaga river and examined by teams of doctors from local medical colleges on June 2 and again on June 22. The examinations by these doctors, one of which had been appointed by the national bishops’ conference, found no water in the bishop’s lungs, ruling out suicide but did find signs of torture on his body.
In opposition to these findings, results from the latest autopsy conducted by two doctors working for the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) were released Tuesday via statement by Cameroon’s attorney general’s office. The statement asserts that “drowning is the most probable cause of death of the bishop.” The statement adds, “After an in-depth examination, no trace of violence was found on the body of the deceased.”
Early news reports had speculated that his death may have been the result of suicide. Subsequent autopsies disproved this theory as no water was found in the lungs and the body showed signs of violence.
The National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon issued a statement June 13, affirming the bishop was brutally murdered. “We, the bishops of Cameroon, are convinced that Bp. Jean Marie Benoît Bala did not commit suicide; he was brutally murdered. This is one more murder and one too many,” they declared. In their statement, the bishops listed a number of Church leaders from Cameroon, who had died under mysterious circumstances and called upon local authorities to protect them and bring criminals to justice.
Friends and relatives of Bishop Balla are rejecting the findings of this recent autopsy, owing to the fact signs of severe mutilation on the bishop’s body had been previously reported by local Cameroon press. Information has now filtered that the authorities gave the two European doctors the body of another man to examine.
Local media had reported that Bishop Balla intended to reveal the government’s alleged participation in the death of Abbé Armel Djama, rector of the Minor Seminary in Bafia. The priest’s dead body was found at the end of May in his room at the seminary located in the bishop’s diocese.
Meanwhile, a childhood friend of Bishop Balla, Pr. Vincent Sosthene Fouda, president of the Cameroon Movement for Social Democracy and a presidential election candidate, had his Face book account suspended Wednesday after he published a video, disclosing information related to the bishop’s alleged assassination.
Fouda is accusing Belinga Eboutou, Director of the Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic, of sponsoring the alleged murder of the bishop. Fouda attests that Eboutou escorted Bp. Bala out of his bishop’s residence on the night of May 29, which was the last time the bishop was seen alive. Fouda testified in the video that Eboutou called Bp. Bala that night at 11:47 p.m. saying, “Monseigneur, I am at your gate.” He then alleges that Eboutou took Bishop Balla to his home where he tortured him.