This story sounds almost too horrifying to be true. In what seems to be a story penned for the Hollywood big screen, one woman fell victim to her husband’s plan to kill her—and lived to tell the tale.
Noela Rukundo was visiting her native country of Burundi for her step mother’s funeral with her husband, when her spouse told her to leave their hotel room and go outside for fresh air.
Little did she know, she was walking into a murderous plot.
As soon as she stepped outside, a man accosted her with a loaded gun.
“Don’t scream. If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They’re going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead,” the victim told BBC
Noela was taken to a car where she was blindfolded and taken on a terrifying 30 minute ride.
When they reached the location, she was dragged inside an unmarked building and strapped to a chair. Once she was secured, the hit men called her husband who instructed them to kill her.
“I heard his voice. I heard him. I felt like my head was going to blow up. Then they described for him where they were going to chuck the body,” she revealed. At this point, Noela passed out.
When she came to, she was relieved to hear her kidnappers have some thread of morality: “He looks at me and then he says, ‘We’re not going to kill you. We don’t kill women and children.”
The hit man then went on to extort her husband for more money, then informed her she had 80 hours to escape the country.
“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.”
As their final act of nobility, the crew gave Noela evidence to incriminate her husband.
She immediately called her pastor to help her leave the country, asking him to keep her livelihood and whereabouts a secret.
When Noela returned home to Melbourne, her husband had already alerted the community of her death and planned her funeral–that’s when she showed up.
A group of mourners had gathered at the house, and her husband was helping them into a car when she walked right up to him.
“He kept talking to himself and when he reached me, he touched me on the shoulder. He jumped. Then he said, ‘Noela, is it you?’… Then he start screaming, ‘I’m sorry for everything.’”
“He said he wanted to kill me because he was jealous,” she continued. “He thought that I wanted to leave him for another man.”
In court, her husband denied involvement with the plot until police played for him his own voice in the phone call recordings. His explanation for why he did it: The Devil.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Wait, only nine years?
And what’s worse, because of his conviction, Noela was ostracized from the African community in Melbourne. They actually blamed her for the incident and her husband’s subsequent jail term.
Victim shaming: the symptom of a crooked, patriarchal community.
Despite the trauma of the ordeal, Noela is doing the best she can to hold it together for her eight children.
“My situation, my past life? That is gone. I’m starting a new life now,” she explained.
We are wowed by her will to survive and continue on. So terrifying!