Bishop of Bafia, Jean-Marie Balla allegedly committed suicide by jumping into the Sanaga River near the Ebebda Bridge in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
After the Land Cruiser SUV with plate number CE 9503V of bishop Balla was found at the bridge of Ebebda on Wednesday afternoon, the Catholic community initiated a search.
Inside the vehicle was the ID card, driver’s license and car papers of the clergyman. Also was found inside the SUV was a handwritten note on a stationery of the diocese with words “Je suis dans l’eau” translated in English as “I am in the water”.
Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Balla was born in Oweng Mbalmayo on May 1959. He originated from Mbankomo in the Division of Mefou-Akono. He graduated from the Catholic Institute of Yaoundé in Social Sciences and Management apart from his studies in philosophy and theology at the Major Seminary at Nkolbisson. He was ordained in 1987 as a priest by the late Archbishop Jean Zoa.
According to Maurice Tchoffo, the Senior Divisional Officer for Inoubou and Mban, it is not easy at the moment to determine what really has occurred inside the vehicle. The handwritten note found inside the SUV suggests that the priest had indeed killed himself. This event may hunt forever the Roman Catholic Church in Cameroon.
Governor of the Centre region, Naseri Paul Bea, the Divisional Officer of the locality and other authorities have rushed to the scene with security personnel. The DO reported that no damage was done to the car which reveals that there was no violence.
The allegedly suicide of Bishop Balla may set an alarm to the Roman Catholic Church at the highest level – the strong bond between the Francophone Roman Catholic Bishops and the moguls of the ruling CPDM government.
What really happened to the clergyman is yet to be known.