With the sudden disappearance of the Bishop of Bafia on 31 May 2017, the stories of assassinations or disappearances of Catholic religious in Cameroon are still a mystery. We know curiously who killed Jesus of Nazareth and how he was killed about 2000 years ago, but it is almost never known how and why the religious are killed in Cameroon.
Here is a list of the crimes that have been recorded to date against Catholic missionaries and whose investigations have never been completed for the most part:
1 – Bishop Yves Plumey
The Archbishop Emeritus of Garoua was assassinated in Ngaoundéré on the night of September 3, 1991 under circumstances that have remained mysterious until today. On the Apostolic Journey to Cameroon in 1995, Pope John Paul II praised his memory in these words: “Monsignor Yves Plumey, one of the great figures of the Cameroonian Church,” this revered Pastor who had done so much for the Church of the North Of Cameroon, murdered four years ago in circumstances still unexplained “.
2- Bishop Jean Kounou
Originaating from the Lekie division, he was ordained priest in 1941. Theological studies at the Grand Séminaire de Mvolyé. Prelate of His Holiness. From 1959 to 1979 he was the Curate at Ngomedzap, Diocese of Mbalmayo. He was assassinated in 1982, at the same time as the Abbe Materne Bikoa. The two assassins entered his house. One of them was the cook.
3 – Father Engelbert Mveng
On the morning of April 23, 1995, Father Engelbert Mveng was found dead, a deep wound in the head. An inexplicable murder, since nothing had been taken away from his room.
4- Abbe Joseph Mbassi
Former Editor-in-chief of the Effort Camerounais, he was found dead on the morning of October 26, 1988 in his room. It was not the work of thieves, because nothing in the room was touched or carried away. The Effort Camerounais paid him the following tribute: “He passed through life like a meteor. He conveyed to the newspaper his youth, his vitality, his diligence, his enthusiasm, his competence.”
5 – Father Anthony Fontegh (Kumbo/North-West)
He was killed in 1990 in Bamenda.
6 and 7 – The Sisters Germaine Marie Husband and Marie Léonne Bordy (Djoum-August 2, 1992)
In charge of the dispensary of the Catholic mission of Djoum, these two religious of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart were slaughtered in their residence. The gardener of the parish was held guilty, and sentenced to death.
8 – Abbe Materne Bikoa
Ordained in 1979. Studies at the Major Seminary of Nkol Bisson. He came exactly when the assassins were killing Abbe Kounou. As an unlucky witness, he was also killed.
9 – Abbe Apollinaire Claude Ndi
He was curate of Nkol-Tob by Awaé, Yaoundé. Killed in Yaounde during the night of 20-21 April 2001, in Nkolndongo, by an unknown man. The Cameroonian bishops denounced the killing of the priest as “an assassination that lengthens the list of Apostolic Workers killed for motives and in circumstances never cleared up by police investigations.“
10 – Abbe Joseph Yamb
Ordained priest around 1941. Curated in Mandoumba (Diocese of Eséka). He was assassinated by thieves who were looking for money.
11 – Abbe Barnabé Zambo
He was born around 1955 in Nsimalem, Archdiocese of Yaounde. He went to the Archdiocese of Bertoua, where he was the parish priest of Mbang. Died on March 24, 1989 under conditions never elucidated.
12- Brother Yves Marie-Dominique Lescanne
He was a member of the Petits Frères de l’Evangile, founder of the Foyer de l’Espérance in Yaoundé, found murdered in the night of 29 to 30 June in Maroua, Cameroon, by one of the young people he helped to get out of the ” Street “.
13 – Brother Anton Probst
68-year old, a German, of the Congregation of the Claretian Missionaries, killed on the night of December 24 by robbers who had entered the Novitiate of Akono. After the Christmas Mass, he returned to his room when he caught thieves who beat him up, leaving him inanimate. He was in Cameroon for 11 years, after 24 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
14- Mgr Jean Marie Benoit Balla
Bishop of Bafia who disappeared on 31 May 2017 and whose lifeless body was recovered in Sanaga River.