What would you do if your husband (or wife) tried to have you killed — but failed?
For Noela Rukundo, the answer was easy: Show up at her own funeral and make a scene.
It all started when she left her home in Australia to return to her native Burundi to attend her stepmother’s funeral.
“I had lost the last person who I call ‘mother’,” she says. “It was very painful. I was so stressed.”
After the funeral, she went back to her hotel room and got a call from her husband, Balenga Kalala. They have three kids together.
“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.”
At that moment, she went outside and was confronted by a man with a gun. He eventually motioned her into a nearby car where she was blindfolded and driven “30 or 40 minutes” away.
They arrived at their destination and Noela was tied to a chair — still blindfolded. The men asked why anyone would place a hit on her to be killed before making a call to the man who hired them.
She heard her husband’s voice on the phone.
“I knew he was a violent man,” Noela admits to BBC. “But I didn’t believe he can kill me.”
What her husband didn’t know was that the hit men had a very strict ‘no women, no kids’ policy. They asked Noela’s husband for more money but he refused and they let her go.
“‘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 her husband — 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!”
After all that, she made her way back to Australia three days later where she confronted her husband …AT HER OWN FUNERAL!
Her husband had told everyone that his wife had died in a tragic accident.
“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.”
After everyone left, she made her move.
“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.'”
Noela called the police and had him arrested. He later admitted his guilt and has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
For more details, check out the full story over at BBC.