Eventually, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for attempted murder and conspiring to murder.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 19, 2021. It has since been updated.
It is a known fact that it needs a lot of work to make marriages work otherwise they can crash like a pack of cards. In a marital relationship, there are many moments when partners want to get rid of one another at any cost, but most of the time there are ways to resolve the conflicts that could have led to such emotions. However, there was no resolution in the case of one man, who decided to get rid of his wife once and for all.
The husband from Burundi, Central Africa, thought that he could do away with his wife permanently.
Noela Rukundo, a survivor of the civil war, fled her country in search of new possibilities. That landed her in Australia, where she met her husband, Balenga Kalala. He was a recent refugee from Congo, and they had the same social worker at the resettlement agency that helped them get on their feet. Since Kalala already knew English, their social worker often recruited him to translate for Rukundo, who spoke Swahili, per BBC.
Soon, the two of them fell in love, got married, and moved into a place of their own where they had three children together. That's when she got to know Kalala a little better. “I knew he was a violent man,” Rukundo said. “But I didn’t believe he can kill me.”
But, in 2015, the couple, who'd been married for about a decade, had to go back to Burundi to attend a funeral, per Washington Post. Her stepmother had died, and after the funeral, an upset Rukundo went back to the hotel room, when her husband called. “He told me to go outside for fresh air,” she said. But when she stepped out, she knew she was in danger. "I opened the gate and I saw a man coming towards me. Then he pointed the gun at me."
“Don’t scream,” she recalled him saying. “If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They’re going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead.” The terrified woman did exactly as she was told, and she was blindfolded and made to sit in a car. After about 30 odd minutes, the car came to a stop, and Rukundo was pushed into a building and tied to a chair.
"I hear the men and they said 'you woman, what did you do for this man to pay us to kill you?' "I said, 'What are you talking about?'," according to ABC. "The boss says 'Balenga sent us to kill you'. I say 'You lie. My husband can't send anyone to kill me.' They laughed and said 'You're a fool, you're stupid'."
There was the sound of a dial tone, and the woman heard a male voice coming through a speakerphone. It was her husband’s voice. “Kill her,” he said. Rukundo fainted at that. Luckily for her, the kidnappers her husband paid, were people who refused to kill women and children. But they would keep her husband's money, and tell him that she was dead.
After two days, they set her free on the side of a road, but not before giving her a cellphone, recordings of their phone conversations with Kalala, and receipts for the $7,000 in Australian dollars they allegedly received in payment, according to Australia’s The Age newspaper.
Noela Rukundo is my hero: Wife crashes own funeral, horrifying husband, who paid to have her killed https://t.co/1HRro7Mo7m— Sophie Lui | 呂婉謀 (@sophielui) February 5, 2016
“We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened,” Rukundo said she was told before the gang members drove away. Though the woman was evidently shaken, but alive, she sought help from embassies to help her get back to Australia. Her husband, meanwhile, had told their neighbors back home in Australia that she'd died in an accident.
A few mourners were leaving her home, and finally, she spotted the man she’d been waiting for. She stepped out of her car, and her husband put his hands on his head in horror. “Is it my eyes?” she recalled him saying. “Is it a ghost?”
“Surprise! I’m still alive!” she replied. Fear took over Kalala, and he initially denied all involvement but confessed to everything later. “Sometimes Devil can come into someone, to do something, but after they do it they start thinking, ‘Why I did that thing?’ later,” he said, as he begged her to forgive him. Apparently, he'd hired the hitmen to kill his wife because he was under the assumption that she was about to leave him for another man.
Eventually, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for attempted murder and conspiring to murder. But, despite everything that's happened, Rukondo is not one to falter. “I will stand up like a strong woman,” she said. “My situation, my past life? That is gone. I’m starting a new life now.”
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Daily News