Imagine attending your own funeral. Sounds crazy, right? Well, Noela Rukundo was able to do just that, shocking her husband who had paid to have her killed by a group of hit men.
According to The Independent,Noela met her husband Balenga Kalala 11 years ago after she arrived in Australia from Burundi. At the time, Balenga was a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who had the same social worker as Noela. Their social worker often recruited Balenga to translate for Noela, who spoke Swahili. The pair eventually fell in love, got married, and had three children together.
Although Noela admits that she knew her husband was a violent man, she never thought he was capable of such a horrific crime, especially against her. Noela’s nightmare began a little over a year ago as she was attending a funeral in her native Burundi. Her stepmother had died, leaving her emotional and stressed. Noela decided to go back to her hotel room to rest, but then received a phone call from Balenga telling her to go outside to get some fresh air.
Noela took her husband’s advice, but as soon as she stepped out of her hotel room, a man with a gun came running at her.
Australia: Wife crashes her own funeral: Melbourne: Noela Rukundo sat in a car outside her home in Melbourne,… https://t.co/4SNQLJfCTw
— Australia News Links (@dlAustralianews) February 6, 2016
“Don’t scream,” she recalled the man saying. “If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They’re going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead.”
Terrified for her life, Noela did as she was told. The man then allegedly blindfolded her and ushered her into a vehicle that would take her to an abandoned building. Upon arrival, Noela was taken into the building and tied to a chair. It was then that her captors explained what was going on.
“You woman, what did you do for this man to pay us to kill you?” the men asked her. “Balenga sent us to kill you.”
Noela reportedly told the men that she didn’t believe them. They called her a fool and then called her husband, whom she could hear on speakerphone telling the men to kill her. The shock of his words caused Noela to faint. When she awoke, however, the men told her that they had no plans to kill her. They were planning on keeping her husband’s money and telling him that she was dead.
— TY CURRENT NEWS (@tycurrentnews) February 5, 2016
After two days of being held captive, the men set Noela free with a mobile phone, recordings of their phone conversations with Kalala, and receipts for the $7,000 they were paid for her murder. Noela immediately sought the help of the Kenyan and Belgian embassies to return to Australia, where she then went to meet with her pastor.
Five days later, on February 22, 2015, Noela approached the man who had ordered her death. She sat in her car and watched as a group of mourners filed in and out of her house until she saw Balenga.
“Is it my eyes?” Noela recalled him saying. “Is it a ghost?
“Surprise! I’m still alive!” she replied.
While Balenga initially denied having any involvement with the murder plot, Noela was able to get him to confess during a phone call recorded by the police.
— Perez Hilton (@PerezHilton) February 6, 2016
“Sometimes Devil can come into someone, to do something, but after they do it they start thinking, ‘Why I did that thing?’ later,” Balenga said in an attempt to gain her forgiveness.
Balenga eventually plead guilty to the crime, saying that he did it because he thought Noela was going to leave him for another man. A Melbourne judge then sentenced him to nine years in prison.
“Had Ms Rukundo’s kidnappers completed the job, eight children would have lost their mother,” Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said. “It was premeditated and motivated by unfounded jealousy, anger and a desire to punish Ms. Rukundo.”
[Photo via Shutterstock]