Navy divers had been searching for the body of a missing Catholic bishop in River Sanaga in Cameroon, but it was a fisherman who found it floating downstream.
Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Balla of the Bafia Diocese in central Cameroon went missing three days ago, leaving his home just before midnight.
The 88-year-old’s night watchman said he opened the gate for the bishop, wondering where he was going so late.
Sand diggers found the bishop’s abandoned car the next morning on the bridge over River Sanaga, close to Ebebda, a small town west of the capital, Yaoundé.
A suicide note, which said in French “I am in the water”, was found in the car. However, investigators are yet to determine if the bishop wrote it and under what circumstances.
A priest in the same Bafia diocese also died two weeks ago. He was found dead in his bedroom.
The bishop was said to have been very disturbed by the priest’s death.
However, Bishop Samuel Kleda, who is the president of the National Episcopal Conference, said the two deaths were not linked.
Cameroonians are shocked, and prayers are being held in parishes across the country.
Bishop Faustin Ambassa Ndjodoof Garoua in northern Cameroon said the late clergy “was a wise man and a very accessible person. We have lost a very important man. It’s a great loss”.