The grave of Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Bala was found desecrated with blood

The grave of Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Bala of Bafia, who was allegedly murdered, has been desecrated with traces of blood.

The Cameroonian bishop disappeared in May, and his body was found a few days later in the Sanga River. The country’s bishops’ conference claims he was murdered, although civil authorities say he committed suicide.

Now the Agenzia Fides information service reports the bishop’s grave in Bafia Cathedral has been attacked. “There was a clear act of desecration in the cathedral of Bafia in the night between Sunday 27 and Monday 28 August. Traces of blood were found in the cathedral,” said Sosthène Léopold Bayemi Matjei, Bishop of the nearby Diocese of Obala.

“The cathedral is closed to public worship until a penitential rite will be celebrated as prescribed by the Code and the liturgical rite,” he added.

Bishop Bala’s death remains a mystery. His body was discovered on June 2, about 10 miles downstream from his abandoned car, which contained a note saying: “Don’t look for me! I am in the water.”

Although apparently a suicide, an autopsy report later suggested he had not died by drowning, and that there were signs of torture on his body. The Cameroon bishops’ conference concluded he had been murdered, however a separate Interpol investigation claimed he had in fact drowned.

A number of priests and women religious have been murdered in the country over the past 30 years, including Archbishop Yves-Joseph-Marie Plumey of Garoua, a Coucil Father at the Second Vatican Council. His murder also remains unsolved.