MELBOURNE, Australia — A woman showed up at her own funeral, terrifying her husband, who police say paid to have her killed.
Noela Rukundo was visiting her native country of Burundi in January 2015 for her stepmother’s funeral when she was kidnapped, the mother of eight recently told the Washington Post. The story is receiving worldwide attention following her interview with the BBC on Thursday.
Rukundo’s husband called her while she was resting in the hotel room and urged her to go outside and get some fresh air. Shortly after walking outside, a man pointed a gun at Rukundo and forced her into a car.
While tied to a chair, Rukundo listened to her kidnappers talk to her husband, Balenga Kalala, on the phone.
“Kill her,” the woman’s husband allegedly told the gunmen.
The Washington Post reported Kalala paid the kidnappers $7,000 in Australian dollars (about $5,000 in U.S. dollars) to murder his wife, but the kidnappers did not believe in killing women.
The kidnappers kept the cash and set Rukundo free. They also gave her evidence to incriminate Kalala.
Five days later, Rukundo stepped out of a car at her own funeral and approached her husband.
“Surprise! I’m still alive!” she said to the father of three of her children. Frightened, he screamed and asked her if she was a ghost.
According to ABC Australia, Kalala was sentenced in December to nine years in jail. Justice Marilyn Warren told The Washington Post, “It was premeditated and motivated by unfounded jealousy, anger and a desire to punish Ms. Rukundo.”