A woman, who was supposed to be dead, showed up at her own funeral in Melbourne, Australia and surprised her husband who had paid hitmen to kill her.
In February 2015, Noela Rukundo travelled home to Burundi from Australia to attend her stepmother’s funeral.
“I had lost the last person who I call ‘mother,’” Rukundo told the BBC in a recent interview. “It was very painful. I was so stressed.”
According to the British broadcaster, Rukundo was in her hotel room in Bujumbura when she received a call from her husband Balenga Kalala, who stayed back in Australia. The woman apparently told her husband, and father of three of their children, that she wasn’t feeling very well, so he suggested she get some fresh air.
Within seconds of stepping outside of the hotel lobby, Rukundo was kidnapped at gunpoint.
“He just told me, ‘Don’t scream. If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They’re going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead,’” Rukundo said in the BBC interview.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Kalala paid almost $7,000 to the group of men who took his wife to a secret location.
The kidnappers played recorded phone conversations for Rukundo between her husband and the group and also provided her with a “proof of payment” from Kalala, ABC reported.
However, in the BBC interview, Rukundo said one of the hitmen actually called the man who hired the hit.
“We already have her,” the group’s leader reportedly said. “Kill her,” Kalala is said to have replied.
According to ABC, the group decided not to go through with the plan because they didn’t want to kill a woman and apparently one of the kidnappers knew Rukundo’s brother.
Rukundo says the group released her after holding her for two days. She flew back to Australia a few days later.
Turns out her husband told their community that Rukundo had died in a tragic accident in Africa. On Feb. 22, 2015, Kalala hosted some well-wishers and mourners in their Melbourne home when Rukundo confronted her husband.
“He was in front of the house. People had been inside mourning with him and he was escorting a group of them into a car,” Rukundo told the BBC. “I stood just looking at him. He was scared, he didn’t believe it. Then he starts walking towards me, slowly, like he was walking on broken glass.
“Then he said, ‘Noela, is it you?’… Then he started screaming, ‘I’m sorry for everything,’” Rukundo said.
Rukundo told the BBC that her husband wanted her dead because he thought she wanted to be with another man.
Her husband was arrested and sentenced to nine years in prison for incitement to murder.