The ex-convict pretended to have offered his life to Christ during a public crusade.
The annual crusade of an evangelical church was marred at the Bepanda neighbourhood in Douala, last Wednesday, when an ex-convict snatched a basket of offerings, containing FCA 33,200, while believers adored Jehovah, with their eyes sealed. The criminal, not recognized in the neighbourhood, is said to have spent several years at the New Bell prison for rape and burglary.
Hundreds of believers had begun steaming the “Entrée Bepanda” neighbourhood as early as 5 p.m., with trumpets, harps and rock bands. The saintly melodies, which announced end-times and eminent judgement, had also lured hundreds of drinkers, bike riders and loafers. The laymen, literarily soaked in alcohol, danced and caressed and hugged one another, with live cigarettes stuck on their lips. The choir master, who was baking in the evening heat, tried to instil order. But, the laity rather crazed. The choirmaster raised his broom and music stopped.
It was time for sermon. Pastor Kierito took to the rostrum.
Dozens rushed towards the pastor for deliverance. Amongst those who felt a spiritual touch was a ruddy leggy youth, who skipped from the crowd yelling for help. Pastor Kierrito rushed and embraced him. The guy, who identified himself as “Rusel” gripped the pastor and wept, revealing that he was jailed for three years at the New Bell prison, where he was abandoned by all except Jesus; that Jesus fed and clothed him in prison; and that he came to reconcile with the saviour. Pastor Kierrito ordered fire from heaven. The congregation, including the tipsy folks, roared with applauds. The trumpeters rejuvenated and the pricking melodies began again. Rusel stood on his toes and wined his waist like a kite. Believers ululated and streamed towards the guy, calling him “brother”. In due course, church wardens had collected tithes, which summed up to FCFA 33,200.
Then came the time for adoration. The faithful closed their eyes, raised their heads towards the sky, calling on Elijah to fortify “Brother Rusel”. Then, a commotion ensued. Someone was piercing through the crowd, with the alms creel clutched on to his chest. It was “Brother Rusel”. He had snatched the creel during the fire-spitting prayers. Pastor Kierito dived on the thief, and almost suffocated him with the wings of his cassock. At press time, the church wardens were marching the blood-stained criminal to the nearest police post.
By Martin NKEMATABONG