A Christian pastor who claimed to have the ability to heal “coronavirus sufferers by laying his hands on them,” died of the illness on Saturday.
Frankline Ndifor, 39, a popular Cameroon pastor and candidate in the central African state’s presidential election in 2018, had been laying his hands on coronavirus infected worshippers who had flocked to his church, the Kingship International Ministries Church, in recent weeks.
His supporters blocked the entrance to his home in the capital city of Douala for eight hours as medical staff tried to retrieve Ndifor’s body on Saturday morning.
The crowd reportedly claimed Ndifor was not dead, but he was rather on a spiritual retreat with God and would return soon.
Doctor Gaelle Nnanga said that Ndifor died less than a week after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
According to VOA:
He says 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 says the pastor died less than 10 minutes after they treated him.
The governor of Cameroon’s coastal region, where Douala is, said in a release he deployed police to force their way to Ndifor’s residence when his followers chased medical staff away, claiming that the pastor was on a spiritual retreat with God, rather than dead, and should not be buried.
Ndifor follower Rigobert Che says 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 says via a messaging application that Ndifor’s death has brought panic to the hundreds of people who have been visiting him for prayers for a divine cure.
“This is a pastor that has been laying hands [on the sick] and claiming that he cures COVID-19,” Che said. “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.”
Medical staff are asking those who came in contact with the pastor to report to hospitals to be tested for COVID-19.