The Bishop of Bafia in Cameroon had been declared missing earlier this week when his car was spotted on Wednesday near the Sanaha river, near the nation’s capital, Yaoundé.
A note was reportedly found in his car, which read: “Do not look for me! I am in the water.”
While many believe this was the bishop’s suicide note, others believe he may have been murdered, due to other unsolved murders of priests in the country. Boko Haram has been accused of kidnapping priests and nuns in the country.
The La Croix newspaper in its edition for Africa reported that the Cameroonian Bishops' Conference had issued a communique asking for prayers to find the Bishop, in whose car "the police have not found any sign of violence or blood."
Obianuju Ekeocha, founder of Culture of Life Africa, posted a series of photos of the Bishop’s car and pleas for prayers early in the morning on Friday, June 2.
2 Days ago Catholic Bishop of Bafia Cameroon ????????- Msgr Jean Marie Benoit BALLA was reported missing
— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) June 2, 2017
Yesterday, fishermen discovered the body of the bishop underneath a bridge. He was 58 years old.
Investigations into his death are ongoing.
Bishop Balla was born on May 10, 1959. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Yaoundé on June 20, 1987.
He was appointed Bishop of Bafia on May 3, 2003 and consecrated on July 12 of that same year. The Diocese of Bafia has more than 200,000 Catholics.