PANIC IN THE ALTER: Pastor who lay hands on Covid-19 patients dies 1 week after contacting the virus.

Reports monitored on VOA African service says panic has gripped several hundred people after a popular Cameroon pastor and candidate in the central African state’s last presidential election, Frankline Ndifor, died of COVID-19 following his prayers that reportedly got hundreds of his supporters cured of the coronavirus. Some policemen forcefully gained access to his residence in Douala, warding off some of his supporters who blocked entrances to the premises while praying for his resurrection.

The reports says a group of his followers gathered Sunday morning at Ndifor’s residence denying that the man the fondly refer to as prophet is dead. They claim that he is on a spiritual retreat with God and will return soon. Their singing and prayers were broadcast by several local radio stations.

Sanitation workers and men of the country’s Covid-19 response unit buried Pastor Frankline Ndifor in front of his residence after confirming him dead on Saturday.

Dr Gaelle Nanga for Bonassama district hospital who was called to attend to Ndifor said that Ndifor died less than a week after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

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 arrived.

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 all those who came in contact with the pastor to report to hospitals to be tested for COVID-19.

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 coronavirus by washing their hands. His last public outing was on April 20, when he went out into Douala’s streets to distribute facemasks.

Ndifor had a reputation as a miracle healer, and he was a contender in Cameroon’s 2018 presidential election, emerging seventh out of nine candidates, with 23, 687 votes.