It later turned out that it was her husband, Pastor Bakenga Kalala had paid hitmen to kill her.
The hitmen kidnapped her as planned but could not carry forward with the killing. They told her they don’t kill women and children and thereafter released her to go after a few days.
How it all started
It all started when Rukundo returned to Burundi to attend her stepmother’s funeral.
“Later that evening, she was lured out of her hotel room by a phone call from Kalala – her husband back in Australia. He asked me, ‘How’s the weather? Is it very, very hot? He told me to go outside for fresh air. I didn’t think anything. I just thought that he cared about me, that he was worried about me.”
The interest in her well-being appeared loving albeit laced with deadly intention. She left her hotel was immediately kidnapped. The thugs dragged her into a waiting car. They never told her why they had kidnapped her, until a few days later. They revealed to their terrified captive that the person behind her ordeal was a man called Mr Kalala.
The thugs didn’t know he was her husband. She couldn’t believe them at first, but the thugs called him on phone, putting the call on speaker phone. Rukundo was shocked to her her husband instruct the thugs to finish her off!
However, the thugs had developed ulterior motives. Instead of going forward with Kalala’s instructions, they decided to let loose Rukundo – and gave her the proof she needed to convict her husband.
Rukundo narrated that the leader of the hitmen looked at her and said they were not going top kill her. they further told her they don’t kill women and children.
The woman’s suffering was still far from over, however. She stayed a captive for two more days before she was eventually released. During the two days, the thugs were convincing her husband to pay even more money. On the day of her release, the group gave Rukundo a phone memory card and receipts from the money transfers with which Kalala had paid them.
The after events a the funeral
A few days after her ordeal ended, Rukundo travelled back to Melbourne to meet the man who wanted her dead. He was in the house with mourners who had apparently learnt of her ‘accidental death’ in Burundi.
She went to a nearby restaurant and sat there waiting for the mourners to leave.
“When I got out of the car, he saw me straight away. He put his hands on his head and said, ‘Is it my eyes? Is it a ghost?’,” Rukundo told the BBC.
“Surprise! I’m still alive!” was Rukundo’s answer.
The man tried to apologize instantly but Rukundo had already called the police. The whole telephone conversation with the thugs was on record and he later confessed to setting his wife up.
According to Kalala, he wanted to kill his wife because she was more successful than him. Pastor Kalala is serving a nine year sentence in an Australian jail. Rukundo meanwhile told the BBC, she felt like somebody who had just risen again.
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