We have learned Bishop Jean Marie Beniot Balla behaved abnormally the last time he was seen by his collaborators at the Bafia diocese
Professional divers and fishermen fishing for the body of Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Balla are yet to find his body.
The General Delegation for National Security in Yaounde dispatched a special investigation unit from Yaounde to the Ebebda brigde where the Bishop’s Land cruiser Prado is still stationed. A formal statement as to what led to the disappearance of the prelate is still awaited.
While citizens and investigators ponder on a handful of possibilities, Journal du Cameroun visited the scene and talked to some collaborators of the missing Catholic clergyman- they suggest he might have killed himself.
Sitting on the pedestrian path on the Ebebda bridge yesterday at about a few minutes past 6pm, sad-looking Reverend Sister Scholastique talked to Journal du Cameroun about the last time she saw the missing Bishop. She is one of his close collaborators at the Bafia diocese.
She said Bishop Balla took his last super between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday May 30. She also said that she could tell the time he had his meal, because she noticed the cook left the Bishop’s house at a few minutes past 8pm. The Bishop also left to his private apartment later on.
The reverend sister said it was strange that Bishop Balla who dislikes driving at night, drove himself out at about 11pm. Sister Scholastique also said whenever the Bishop wants to go out without his driver, he uses a Blue Berline Toyota, not the jeep found on the bridge.
The night watchman who testified to have seen Bishop Balla driving out, also said the prelate told him he was traveling to Yaounde. A priest in the parish who preferred not to be named, said it was not in Bishop Balla’s modus operandi to leave verbal notes whenever he was traveling out of the Bafia Diocese. Other sources in the parish corroborated this, affirming that he always left a written note.
Strangely still, the Bishop did not inform his driver he was traveling to Yaounde. The driver showed up for work, yesterday May 31. He said he thought his boss was still sleeping and waited outside- in vain.
Sister Scholarstique says she tried to get the Bishop on phone that morning when the driver showed up for work. His phones were off.
It should be recalled that administrative authorities were alerted of the incident by Reverend Father François-Xavier Ayissi and Reverend Sister Eleonora who found the Bishops vehicle on the bridge with the note which read “Je suis dans l’eau”.
However, Fr Constant Amombo who served as teacher at Mvolye while Bishop Balla was his boss, insists the man he knew is not capable of suicide.
He says Bishop Balla has a strong personality, has an unflinching faith and committed to serve the “true God”.
He also questions rhetorically why Bishop Balla would drive 60km to go and kill himself. He wonders why a man who has a gun will not just shoot himself but drive several kilometres to go and jump in a river.
Fr Amombo also expressed bewilderment with reports that Bishop Balla drove out at 11pm, noting that he is a man who dislikes nocturnal trips.
Jumping in a river as a way of committing suicide would not make sense to a man who knows how to swim like Bishop Balla, Fr Amombo argued further, insisting that he would not believe early reports because he wants to know the whole truth.
Meantime, the ‘Scientific Police’ that examined the Bishop’s car is said to have proceeded to the parish to examine his house and look for clues.
Journal du Cameroun