A popular Cameroonian pastor has died less than a week after being diagnosed with Covid-19, leaving hundreds of his supporters panicked after the man had laid hands on them in an effort to “cure” them of the infection.
Pastor Frankline Ndifor was also a candidate in the central African state’s last presidential election.
According to Voice of America (VOA) news, Cameroon police used force to gain access to the pastor’s residence in the economic capital of Douala, as some of his supporters blocked entrances, praying for his resurrection.
Hundreds of the pastor’s followers sang on Sunday morning at Ndifor’s residence that the man popularly referred to as “the prophet” was not dead, but on a spiritual retreat with God, and would return soon. Their singing and prayers were broadcast by several local radio stations.
Ndifor died and was buried in front of his residence on Saturday by workers of Cameroon’s Covid-19 response team in the city.
Doctor Gaelle Nnanga told VOA that the pastor died less than a week after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
He said that some members of Ndifor’s Kingship International Ministries Church called him to come to the pastor’s aid when they found out Ndifor was in agony, and that when the medical team he leads arrived, Ndifor was having severe respiratory difficulties.
He said the pastor died less than 10 minutes after being treated.
The governor of Cameroon’s coastal region said in a release that he deployed police to force their way into Ndifor’s residence when his followers chased medical staff away.
Ndifor follower Rigobert Che said the “prophet” last Wednesday prayed for him and several dozen people diagnosed with Covid-19, and some who suspected they were carriers or had symptoms.
He said Ndifor’s death had brought panic to the hundreds of people who had been visiting him for prayers for a divine cure.
According to Che, the pastor has been laying hands on the sick and claiming that he was able to cure Covid-19.
“If you, the person that claims that you are curing Covid-19, you are dead, what about the fellow people that were affected by the Covid-19? Now that he is dead, I do not know how the people that he was laying hands on will be healed,” he told VOA.
Medical staff have urged all the people who came in contact with the pastor to report to hospitals to be tested for the virus.
Besides praying for Covid-19 patients at his home and his church, Ndifor was also donating buckets and soap to the poor to protect themselves from the virus. His last public outing was on April 20, when he ventured into Douala’s streets to distribute face masks.