08 August 2017
A Roman Catholic monsignor in the African country of Cameroon has accused gay priests of killing a bishop.
Monsignor Joseph Akonga Essomba of the Catholic Diocese of Bafia on Aug. 4 made the comment during a homily he gave in memory of Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Balla.
“The bishop was killed because he stood up against homosexuals in the church and the priesthood,” said Essomba, who is the current apostolic administrator of the diocese.
Balla was declared missing when he disappeared from his home on the night of May 31.
The late 58-year-old prelate’s body was found on June 2 floating in the Sanaga River, just four miles from where his car was discovered on a bridge. Since his death, there have been allegations as to how he was killed with the police alleging suicide.
While pointing towards the front pews during the church service which was attended by senior government officials, Catholic bishops and priests, Essomba further said, “Shame to all those people in black suits and black spectacles always sitting in the front rows of the church.”
“Shame to all those priests who have come here, pretending to sympathize,” added Essomba. “These are the people who killed our bishop, because he said ‘no’ to the homosexuality perpetrated by those priests.”
“The same reasons for which Christ was crucified apply to the killing of the bishop,” Bishop Andrew Nkea of the Catholic Diocese of Mamfe told Crux, a Catholic news site. “He was killed because he stood for the truth. Any pastor, any bishop, any priest who stands for the truth should be ready to face the sword. It’s a beautiful way to die.”
Cleric alleges Cameroon bishop killed for resisting gay priests
05 August 2017
At a memorial Mass this week for a Cameroon bishop who died under mysterious circumstances, a cleric who’s taken over as the administrator of the diocese charged that the authors of the murder were in the church, “pretending to sympathize,” and that the bishop died for standing up against gays in the priesthood.
YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – Ever since the body of Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Bala of Bafia, Cameroon, was discovered in a local river about four miles from where his car had been abandoned, questions have abounded about his death – was it suicide, as the police allege, or a “brutal assassination,” as the country’s bishops insist?
If it was indeed murder, who killed the 58-year-old prelate?
In response, the current apostolic administrator of Bala’s diocese, Monsignor Joseph Akonga Essomba, delivered a blunt answer on Thursday during a homily at a memorial Mass: The bishop was killed, he said, because he stood up against homosexuals in the Church and the priesthood.
Pointing to the front rows of the Church where most government ministers and other important personalities sat, and casting a sweeping look at fellow priests and bishops, Essomba charged:
“Shame to all those people in black suits and black spectacles always sitting in the front rows of the Church,” he said.
“Shame to all those priests who have come here, pretending to sympathize. These are the people who killed our bishop, because he said ‘no’ to the homosexuality perpetrated by those priests,” Akonga said.
He said those who actually killed the bishop were people in positions of power, but it was homosexual priests who betrayed him.
Akonga doubled down on what Cameroon’s bishops have been saying all along – that, contrary to forensic reports purporting that the bishop died by drowning, he was “brutally murdered.” He said Bala was a very good swimmer, and couldn’t have died by drowning. Akonga said the “Catholic Church has come under attack.”
He recalled the line of Cameroon prelates murdered in the past, at least 14 of them, with no one ever giving satisfying accounts of the murders.
Catholics seem to agree
“They [the Bishop’s killers] are right there in church, and know that this message is for them,” said Jean Pierre Fouman, a Catholic layman based in Bafia, in response to Akonga’s homily.
“They are assassins lurking in the dark,” he added.
AFRICA/CAMER00N – Death of the Bishop of Bafia: The Episcopal Conference has lodged a complaint for murder
Friday, 21 July 2017
Yaounde (Agenzia Fides) – The Bishops of Cameroon have filed a lawsuit for an inquiry into the death of His Exc. Mgr. Jean-Marie Benoît Bala, Bishop of Bafia, whose body was found in the Sanaga River, 2 June. The Bishops immediately clarified that Mgr. Bala was the victim of a murder, refuting any suicide hypothesis. “Mgr. Bala was brutally murdered”, denounced a statement from the Episcopal Conference (see Fides 14/6/2017). On 4 July, however, the Attorney General issued a statement in which it stated that “drowning is the most likely cause of the Bishop’s death”.
His Exc. Mgr. Samuel Kleda Doula Archbishop and President of the Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, stated that the Bishops “are not satisfied” with regards to the investigations carried out so far on the death of Mgr. Bala. This is why, said Mgr. Kleda, the Episcopal Conference has lodged a complaint for murder, “so that truth is established”. Mgr. Kleda added that a complaint would be filed against some police officers for handling the case badly.
“If Mgr. Bala had drowned, there would be water in his body, but no water was found. Instead, there are clear signs of violence”, said the Archbishop. Mgr. Bala’s funeral will be held on 2 August in Bafia. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/7/2017)
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – Catholic bishops in Cameroon have ended an extraordinary plenary at the headquarters of the National Episcopal Conference in Mvolyé, Yaounde in which they held the government to task, asking that it sheds more light on the circumstances regarding what is now clearly the assassination and not suicide (as initially believed by some) of the erstwhile Bishop of Bafia, Msgr. Jean Benoit Balla. At the end of the assembly June 13, the clerics sent out the bellow statement that we publish unedited.
1-The Catholic Church in Cameroon experiences a difficult and delicate moment in its history and mission. Indeed, on the morning of Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the car of Monsignor Jean Marie Benoît BALA, Bishop of Bafia, was in an abnormal parking position on the Bridge of Childhood at the place Ebebda, in the direction of Bafia. The Bishop was reported missing.
2 -As soon as the Bishop disappears, the civil and religious authorities and the public authorities go to the scene. Oriented by a strange message found on the front seat of the car, next to his national identity card and other personal pieces, they ordered the Fire Brigade, to undertake the searches of the body From the Bishop to the bottom of the river. The search continues until the morning of Friday, June 2, 2017, when the remains of the Bishop were found by a fisherman a few kilometers from the Childhood Bridge at Tsang and brought back to the bank by the elements of Defense forces. The body was identified by Our Ladies Piero PIOPPO, Apostolic Nuncio in Cameroon, Samuel KLEDA, President of the Episcopal Conference, Jean MBARGA Archbishop of Yaounde, in the presence of the civil and administrative authorities, including the Governor of the Central Region. The mortal remains were taken to the Yaoundé General Hospital.
3-On Saturday, June 3, 2017, a notice of death and a message of condolence were addressed to the sons and daughters of the diocese of Bafia and to the natural family of the deceased by the President of the Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Yaounde.
4-At present, the body is at the disposal of the judicial authorities with a view to investigating the circumstances, the exact causes and the perpetrators of this heinous and unacceptable crime.
5-The tragic death of Bishop Jean Marie Benoît BALA shocked and upset the People of God, all Cameroonians and international opinion. Given the initial findings, we, the Bishops of Cameroon, affirm that Mons. Jean Marie Benoît BALA did not commit suicide; He was brutally murdered. This is one more murder, and one more.
6- We have the sad recollection of several other prelates, members of the clergy and consecrated persons who have been murdered under conditions that have not been elucidated to this day. These include Monsignor Yves PLUMEY (Ngaoundéré – 1991), Abbé Joseph MBASSI (Yaoundé – 1988), Father Antony FONTEGH (Kumbo-1990), the Sisters of Djoum (in 1992), Father Engelbert MVENG to quote that.
We feel that the clergy in Cameroon are particularly persecuted by obscure and diabolical forces.
To the State of Cameroon,
7-The Bishops demand that all the light be given on the circumstances and motives of the assassination of Bishop Jean Marie Benoît BALA.
That the culprits be identified and delivered to the Justice to be judged according to the law.
That the State should assume its duty to protect human life, especially the ecclesiastical authorities.
The Bishops also await the official conclusions of the inquiry.
To the murderers,
The Bishops pray for them and ask them to embark on a process of urgent and radical conversion.
* To media men and social networking users,
8 -The Bishops ask them to renounce defamation, lies, calumnies, and recommend them respect for the dignity of the human person, truth, modesty and discernment in the treatment of certain information.
To all those who have mobilized,
To the populations of Ebebda and its surroundings,
9 -The Bishops thank them for their efforts to search for the body of the Bishop, often at the risk of their own lives.
To the faithful of the diocese of Bafia,
To the natural family of Bishop Jean Marie Benoît BALA,
To all the People of God,
10 – We say to you: keep courage, Christ has conquered the world (cf. Jn 16:33). Your Pastors carry with you the pain of this sad disappearance. Let not your faith fail. Draw the necessary forces in the Eucharistic celebrations, the prayers of your departed Pastors and also for peace and justice in our country.
11 -That the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Our Lady of Sorrows, Patroness of Cameroon, accompanies us in this hard trial.
Done at Yaounde, on 13 June 2017
For the Bishops of Cameroon
† Samuel KLEDA
Archbishop of Douala
President of the NCPC
The Bishop of Bafia diocese was abducted from his office
According to French newsoutlet LA NOUVELLE in newsstands on June 9, 2017,sources close to the investigation indicate that the laconic layer of the message “I AM IN WATER” (in French -JE SUIS DANS L’EAU) found in the car of the prelate stationed on the Ebebda bridge some 80 kms from Yaounde, was found on the next page of the note book on which the late Bishop Bala allegedly wrote the famous sentence.
13 June 2017
\The Bishop of the diocese of Bafia, Jean Benoît Bala was abducted from his office.According to French newsoutlet LA NOUVELLE in newsstands on June 9, 2017,sources close to the investigation indicate that the laconic layer of the message “I AM IN WATER” (in French -JE SUIS DANS L’EAU) found in the car of the prelate stationed on the Ebebda bridge some 80 kms from Yaounde, was found on the next page of the note book on which the late Bishop Bala allegedly wrote the famous sentence.
This revelation by the paper suggests therefore that those who abducted Bishop Jean-Marie Benoît Bala forced him from his office to write this message.
The one question that comes to mind then, is why has the Biya regime arrested the guard and the driver of the late Bishop?
The bishop had gone missing Wednesday’s May 31st, his car found parked on a bridge over the river, with his personal identification cards within along with the said note which led the public and maybe some officials to believe he committed suicide, but after finding his body Friday, results of an autopsy to determine the precise cause of death say he was killed.
“The lifeless body removed from the waters of the Sanaga reveals that it had a stiffened arm, folded on its abdomen, a curious fact for a ‘suicide,'” stated one of the doctors in the report. There was no water in his lungs, indicating he had already died before being thrown in the river. If he had committed suicide by drowning, his lungs would have been full of water and his body would have sunk to the bottom of the river — neither of which was the case when he was discovered.
Media is reports his death is linked to ducumments he presented to Apostolic Nuncio in Yaounde on the 29th of May on the death of a priest and alleged paedophilia activities by the regime barons in his Bafia diocese .
According to Cameroon media outfit L’Anecdote, which obtained a confidential autopsy report Monday, the body of Mgr Jean-Marie Benoît Bala of the diocese of Bafia 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,his sandals worn on opposite directions,a leg and an arm broken. Even more villager report an helicopter dropping an item between 2 am and 4 am in the same area his body was found early Friday morning by a Malian fisherman .
Bishop Bala was about to expose the government’s alleged involvement in the death of Abbé Armel Djama, rector of the Minor Seminary in Bafia, Bala’s own diocese, who was found dead in his room at the end of May,is not the only catholic Priest to have been murdered in Cameroon suspiciously 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.(for standing against vaccine being tested on students.)
· 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.
· Early this week Fr Augustine Ndi parish priest of Nguti, Mamfe diocese was found dead in his room and
· at the time of this report unconfirmed reports from Bafia say another priest has died suspiciously.
In the meantime, Bearly three days after the discovery of the body of Bishop JM BALA, the holy sea assigned the Apostolic Nuncio in Yaounde to Indonesia and Bishop Abraham Kome of the diocese of Bafang has also been appointed apostolic administrator of Bafia until a more permanent appointment.
Bishop of Bafia reportedly murdered in Cameroon
La Stampa (Italy)
According to the first findings filtered after the autopsy on the body of Mgr. Jean-Marie Benoît Balla, bishop of Bafia, Cameroon, disappeared last May 31 and found in the waters of the Sanaga River on June 2, there would be signs of violence. Meanwhile, another priest was found dead
Monsignor Jean-Marie Benoît Balla
“One of the doctors who performed the autopsy on Mgr. Balla’s body revealed to me that one arm and one leg were fractured while his genitals appear mutilated. With these elements, we can safely discard the hypothesis of suicide.” The words by the director of the newspaper L’Anecdote who explains to Radio France Internationale the latest developments on Mgr. Balla’s case, the Cameroonian bishop from Bafia who disappeared and was found dead last June 2, leave no room for doubt.
At present, there are no official versions or declarations by the investigating bodies or the Catholic hierarchy, while rumors of a possible plan to eliminate Mgr. Balla are becoming more and more pressing.
Shortly after it was found, the prelate’ body was transferred to the Yaoundé capital for the autopsy. The examination was entrusted to a pool of doctors, including an expert appointed by the Episcopal Conference. According to the first disclosures, the signs found on Mgr. Balla’s body lead to think of repeated tortures as well as to exclude the initial hypothesis of suicide. “Frankly – Father Garcia Fernando, Provincial Superior of the Saverians in Cameroon explains during a phone interview with Vatican Insider – “I never believed that Monsignor Balla had taken his life. It is something extreme for anyone, let alone for a bishop. It immediately seemed like a maneuver to discredit the Church and spread disturbing rumors around. Even in the case of Father Jean Armel’s death (the young rector of the Seminary of Saint André whose lifeless body was found in his bedroom only two weeks before the death of Mgr. Balla, e.d) there was immediate talk of suicide. But I can assure you that I spoke to one of the sisters in service there, who told me that the night before, Father Jean had a sudden onset of illness. In his case, I’m sure it was natural death. In the case of the bishop of Bafia, however, there is no doubt it was murder.” Why, was the Bishop of Bafia killed then? And who is trying to discredit the Catholic Church by skillfully spreading fake news?
“Its’ probably the same environments – Padre Garcia resumes -Here in Cameroon there are many realities, ambiguous movements that seek to harm the Church. Very strong and power-hungry groups or secret societies such as the Rosicrucian Order. That being said, Monsignor Balla’s death remains a mystery. I do not recall that he has ever undertaken public campaigns or has started national battles to justify such a violent opposition by hostile groups.”
“We cannot exclude the possibility of an internal track, within the Catholic Church and its connections with government power groups,” says a Cameroonian journalist who prefers to maintain anonymity for security reasons. There is a great deal of tension in our country at this time and I can tell you with certainty that we are facing real feuds within the Church. In my opinion, the reasons behind Monsignor Balla’s murder must be sought in those environments.”
There are also reconstructions of an alleged traffic linked to pedophile environments to which Monsignor Balla fiercely opposed. He probably paid with his own life the price of this battle. It’s now up to the judicial inquiry, opened after the finding the corpse in the Sanaga River, to clarify and provide answers to the many open questions.
Meanwhile, in a country still under shock for the dramatic story, the news of a another death in ecclesiastical environments comes to light: priest Ndi Augustin was found dead on June 7 in his room in Nguti, department Of Kupe-Manengumba, in the south-eastern area of Cameroon, after a short disappearance. “That morning he did not show up for breakfast – people close to the priest told cameroon.net – we went looking for him and found his corpse.”
It is the third disappearance followed by the finding of a corpse within three weeks in Cameroon. All three cases involved Catholic priests.