By Ndikum Gerald, Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé – The Attorney General of the Appeals Court in Yaoundé, yesterday July 4th, issued an official statement debunking public theories that the Bishop of Bafia, Mgr. Jean Marie Benoit Bala was murdered when his corpse was discovered in the bed of River Sanaga in Bafia, Centre Region on June 2. The statement is based on an undisclosed autopsy report allegedly conducted on the remains of the Bishop by experts brought in from Europe.
In the statement, Jean Fils Ntamack, the Attorney General, almost summarily states that the investigations into the death of the Bishop are over, before, adding at the end of it that the “Investigations are continuing to establish the exact circumstances of this tragedy. The findings of the related enquiry will be made known to the public in due course.”
However, after the Attorney General’s press statement was made public yesterday, a source with closed links to the Presidency in Yaoundé who would not want to be named for fear of retribution, disclosed exclusively to The Cameroon Journal that the team of experts brought in from Europe to conduct the said autopsy on the late Bishop was given 3Billion CFA frs. According to our source, the gesture was meant to influence the foreign experts to give a report/story conflicting that of local examiners who had reported in their own findings that the Bishop could not have died of drowning because they found no water in his lungs. The local examiners report confirmed widely held allegations by the rank and file of the Catholic Church in Cameroon that the Bishop was brutally killed.
Our source said because of the involvement of some top personalities from within the Presidency in the death of the Bishop, the Cameroon gov’t is making sure that the experts conceal their findings. He added that the experts had actually asked to hold a press conference to personally announce their findings, but that the Cameroon authorities fearing that journalists would ask troubling questions, advised the team not to grant any press conference.
It is important to note that apart from the press statement from the Yaoundé Attorney General, no official report on the cause of death of the Bishop was released after the conclusion of the autopsy by the foreign experts. The international team of experts led by Germany’s Michael Tsokos and Mark
Mulder of INTERPOL (International Police), left the country without granting the press conference or press statement in such a high profile murder case in the country – Something they will most certainly not do in a high profile murder case in Europe.
Prof. Tsokos, is a renowned Forensic examiner in Europe and Germany where he was born. He is a professor of law medicine and, since 2007, director of the Institute of Legal Medicine at the Berlin Charité and the Institute for Judicial and Social Medicine in Berlin.
“Whatever he does, he wants to know exactly why a man died? Was it a natural death, suicide, or was it murder? Has the victim been slain, and was poisoned, or was it exactly the opposite? Is the child, who looks so cruelly dressed, really only fallen from the winding point, or was the little head actually hurled against the heating pipes?” Is a rape allegation correct, or is the accusation merely devised? Has a woman been abused before or after her death – or before or after? Questions, questions, questions posed by the judiciary to judge. And the judges fail in many cases before Prof. Dr. Michael Tsokos has pronounced his verdict.” That’s the high esteem to which Tsokos is held in Europe as a forensic examiner, according to a reporter’s account.
The possibilities to fathom the truth are enormous. It is dissected, organs are cut up, tissue samples are taken, toxicological, biochemical and microscopic examinations can be made. Tsokos: “I think it’s very, very difficult to pretend.” Even if the dead have long been buried and are exhumed after a doubt about the true cause of death, the Tsokos team can still find something, states a German newspaper report on Tsokos and his work.
So what did the Tsokos team find as cause of death for Bishop Bala? Where is their autopsy report and why were they refused a press conference to publish the results of their findings? As a medical ethic, results of medical examinations are almost all the time presented by medical examiners, why is it that in this case, the Yaoundé authorities won’t allow the medical examiners to release their findings by themselves? What was the 3Billion Frs. meant for? For an autopsy examination conducted in three days? – that’s unheard of.
Bishop Jean Bala was first declared missing on May 30th, and a massive search operation retrieved his mortal remains from the bed of the River Sanaga in Bafia on June 2. Initial autopsy carried out by local physicians had indicated that the Bishop did not die of drowning and that marks found on his body pointed to torture.
“After initial examination by two teams of local medical doctors on 2, and 22 June 2017, the decision was taken to resort to international expertise through INTERPOL. The forensic medical doctors sent by INTERPOL for that purpose, namely Professor Michael Tsokos, Director of the Berlin Institute of Forensic Medicine in Germany, and Doctor Mark Mulder, Coordinator of the Disaster Victim Identification Unit of INTERPOL, arrive Cameroon on 29 June 2017. After close examination, they noted the absence of any traces of violence on the body of the deceased and concluded, in this light, that drowning was the most probable cause of the Bishop’s death.”
If the foreign examiners concluded for real that the Bishop died from drowning, how come the Attorney General’s report states still that “Investigations are continuing to establish the exact circumstances of this tragedy?”
We will stay on the story and bring you more on the autopsy saga as details unfold.