Just three weeks after he was buried in the St. Sebastian Cathedral in Cameroon, blood was sprinkled on the tomb of the deceased bishop.
The police in Cameroon also found blood on the steps leading up to the bishop’s throne and on the table that holds the guestbook. They are currently investigating to see whether it has to anything do with an animist ritual.
According to some of the city’s residents, it could be a sacrifice made during the night of August 27/28. The district attorney and the forensic police came to the scene, and samples were sent to Yaoundé, the capital, to be analyzed.
The cathedral was closed after this act of profanation, and, until further notice, Masses will be celebrated in another place of worship.
This new and troubling event certainly does not clarify the mysterious death of the Cameroonian prelate. Nor does it put an end to speculations about the circumstances of what many believe was certainly a murder, beginning with the national Episcopal Conference of Cameroon which confirmed its conviction on June 13, 2017, at the end of its plenary assembly, that the prelate had indeed been assassinated. The legal authorities of Cameroon, on the other hand, continue to uphold the theory of suicide by drowning, based on an autopsy that “revealed the absence of any trace of violence on the body of the deceased”.
The Cameroonian authorities are also investigating the circumstances of the death of the rector of the minor seminary of Bafia, Fr. Armel Djama, who died 10 days before Bishop Jean-Marie Bala, in equally unclear circumstances.
Over the past thirty years, several prelates, priests, and consecrated persons have been assassinated in equally mysterious circumstances.
Last June, the bishops of Cameroon recalled the memory of Archbishop Yves Plumey, archbishop emeritus of Garoua, assassinated in Ngaoundéré in 1991, Fr. Joseph Mbassi, killed in Yaoundé in 1988, Fr. Antony Fontegh, assassinated in Kumbo in 1990, the sisters of Djoum, killed in 1992, and Fr. Engelbert Mveng, killed in Yaoundé in 1995. According to the correspondent for cath.ch in Africa, Cameroonian prelates are under “the impression that the clergy of Cameroon is particularly persecuted by dark and diabolical forces”.