Popular Cameroonian pastor Frankline Ndifor who laid hand on COVID-19 patients dies from coronavirus

A popular Cameroonian pastor Frankline Ndifor who laid hands on COVID-19 patients has been killed by the deadly bug, and authorities are looking for hundreds of followers who came to seek healing from him.

Health officials are asking all those who came in contact with the pastor to be tested for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Ndifor died on Saturday and was buried in front of his residence by workers of Cameroon’s COVID-19 response team in Douala. Reports quoted Doctor Gaelle Nnanga as saying that Ndifor died less than a week after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

He said 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 they treated him.

Reports quoted the governor of Cameroon’s coastal region, where Douala is, as saying in a press statement that 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’s follower Rigobert Che was quoted as saying that 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 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.”

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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