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Karma strikes as wife Crashes Own Funeral to confront killer

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Noela Rukundo

Photo credit BBC
Noela Rukundo

“Surprise! I’m still alive!” 
Murder for hire goes bad 

A group of gunmen was hired to kill a woman, instead set her free  with evidence to convict the guy who hired them. The kidnappers even extorted extra cash from their client with no intention of soiling their hands with the blood of an innocent woman.

While visiting her native Burundi from Australia. Noela Rukundo was supposed to be dead. The hired killers had been paid. Providence intervened, she survived, leaving her with a chance to turn the tables on the man who wanted her dead.

They hired assasins even explained how they would dispose of the body. Noela Rukundo remembers the feeling, like her “head was going to blow up.”

“I felt like somebody who had risen again,” says Noela.

But now, waiting outside her house for the last of the mourners to leave, she was ready to face down the man who had put out a contract for her murder.

“When I get 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.
Neola was home to attend her stepmother’s funeral. Sitting in her hotel room She received a call from her husband, in Australia. “He says he’d been trying to get me for the whole day,” Noela says. “I said I was going to bed. He told me, ‘To bed? Why are you sleeping so early?’
“I say, ‘I’m not feeling happy’. And he asks me, ‘How’s the weather? Is it very, very hot?’ He told me to go outside for fresh air.”Noela took his advice.

“I didn’t think anything. I just thought that he cared about me, that he was worried about me.”

But moments after stepping outside the hotel compound, Noela found herself in danger.
“I opened the gate and I saw a man coming towards me. Then he pointed the gun on me.
“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.’

“So, I did exactly what he told me.”

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According to the bbc, the Kidnappers told her they had been contracted by her husband to kidnap, then kill her as proof the got him on the phone and put him on speaker. She passed out as she heard Balenga Kalala, her husband and father of her three youngest children order them to ‘kill her, kill her’.

As the gang’s leader ended the call to Kalala, Noela was coming round.
“I said to myself, I was already dead. Nothing I can do can save me.
“But he looks at me and then he says, ‘We’re not going to kill you. We don’t kill women and children.’
“He told me I’d been stupid because my husband paid them the deposit in November. And when I went to Africa it was January. He asked me, ‘How stupid can you be, from November, you can’t see that something is wrong?'”

After two days in captivity, Noela was freed.

 Happier days. Noela and Kalala on their wedding day in Melbourne
A wedding photo (Balenga Kalala and Noela Rukundo)
 Photo credit BBC

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“‘We give you 80 hours to leave this country,'” Noela says the gang told her. “‘Your husband is serious. Maybe we can spare your life, but other people, they’re not going to do the same thing. If God helps you, you’ll get to Australia.'”

Before leaving Noela by the side of a road, the gang handed her the evidence they hoped would incriminate Kalala – a memory card containing recorded phone conversations of him discussing the murder and receipts for the Western Union money transfers.

“We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened,” the gang told Noela as they parted. “You must learn something: you people get a chance to go overseas for a better life. But the money you are earning, the money the government gives to you, you use it for killing each other!”

Noela  called the pastor of her church in Melbourne, Dassano Harruno Nantogmah, and requested his help.

“‘It was in the middle of the night. I says, ‘It’s me, I’m still alive, don’t tell anybody.’ He says, ‘Noela, I don’t believe it. Balenga can’t kill someone!’ And I said, ‘Pastor, believe me!'”

By now, Kalala had informed the community that his wife had died in a tragic accident. He had spent the day hosting a steady stream of well-wishers, many of whom donated money.
“It was around 7.30pm,” Noela says. “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.”

It was as they drove away that Noela sprang her surprise.

“I was 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.

“He kept talking to himself and when he reached me, he touched me on the shoulder. He jumped.
“He did it again. He jumped. Then he said, ‘Noela, is it you?’… Then he start screaming, ‘I’m sorry for everything.'”

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Kalala later made a full confession to his wife, captured on tape, begging for her forgiveness and revealing why he had ordered the murder.

“He say he wanted to kill me because he was jealous,” says Noela. “He think that I wanted to leave him for another man.” An accusation she contests.

In a police interview, Kalala denied any involvement in the plot. Confronted with the recording of his telephone conversation with Noela and the evidence she brought back from Burundi he started to cry, suggesting only that

“sometimes the devil can come into someone to do something but after they do it, they start thinking, ‘Why I did that thing?'” After pleading guilty to incitement to
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