A pastor and former presidential candidate in Cameroon who claimed he had cured coronavirus by laying hands on his followers, has reportedly died of the infection.
Frankline Ndifor died on Saturday at the age of 39, Voice of America reported.
The authorities had to use force to enter Ndifor’s residence because his followers, who believed he was a prophet, had blocked entry as they prayed for his resurrection.
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,” one of his followers, Rigobert Che, told VOA. “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.”
Dr. Gaelle Nnanga told VOA Ndifor’s followers called him to the scene. Upon arrival, Nnanga found the pastor in “agony.” Ndifor died less than 10 minutes later.
According to the BBC, Ndifor’s family and followers had planned to contest the death ruling and keep the body for his resurrection. Police needed teargas to disperse the crowd, then forcefully removed the corpse for a quick burial in line with local procedures for COVID-19 infection, The Cameroon Tribune reported.
To date, war-torn Cameroon has had 3,733 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 146 deaths, according to data collected by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.