Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, seeing someone return from the graves would be frightening.
Seeing your dead wife standing over her own grave can give any man the shock of his life. One woman did exactly that. How she got there in the first place is equally bizarre.
In 2015, friends and family met in Melbourne, Australia, to mourn their beloved Noela Rukundo, bringing comfort to widower Balenga Kalala.
Tragically, she died in an accident while attending her stepmother's funeral in her native hometown, Burundi.
They had no idea Rukundo was outside in her car, watching the ceremony. As soon as the funeral concluded and the final mourners had left, her husband stepped out.
Just as then Kalala got out of the car and said out loud, "Surprise! I'm still alive!"
Everyone was shocked. But if anyone would be shocked the most to see her in flesh, it would be her husband, who thought she was a ghost.
This astonishment, however, could have been rooted in something more sinister than his love for his already deceased wife.
Rukundo and Kalala met 11 years ago, shortly after she came to Australia as a refugee from Burundi. He was a Congolese refugee, and they had the same social worker at the relocation organisation who assisted them in finding food and a home in Australia.
Because Kalala spoke English, their social worker frequently asked him to translate for Rukundo, who only spoke Swahili.
Became A Family
Eventually, the two fell in love and moved in together in Melbourne's King's Park. Rukundo had five children from a previous relationship. After marrying the couple proceeded to have two of their own children.
Things were going good for the family. But not for long.
Rukundo's nightmare began about a year ago when she travelled to Burundi to attend her stepmother's burial. She retreated to her hotel room early in the evening, depressed. Her spouse, on the other hand, advised her to go outside for some fresh air.
But the moment Rukundo stepped outside her hotel, a man lunged forward, wielding a gun at her.
Rukundo recalls the man saying, "Don't scream. If you start screaming, I will shoot you. They’re going to catch me, but you? You will already be dead."
Rukundo was then led into a car, blindfolded, and driven to a location 30 or 40 minutes away. She was then coerced into entering a building and being pushed into a chair.
When asked during an interview, she perfectly remembered the man asking her a question that shocked her to the core. "What did you do for this man to make him pay us to kill you?"
What shocked her, even more, was that the man who hired them to kill her was her husband. She couldn't believe it.
She was in utter disbelief. The men called her a fool for this. To make her believe they called her husband on phone. They put the phone on speaker. A dial tone came through first followed by a male voice.
The voice was very familiar. She knew right then that the men were telling the truth. But the words that rung through the phone's speaker was like pouring a bucket of ice water over her. "Kill her."
After hearing those words, Rukundo fainted. The kidnappers were still present as Rukundo woke up. They told her they won't kill her because they did not kill women and moreover, they knew her brother.
They released her but not without giving a few things which would change the course of her life entirely.
Rukundo had to stay two days in the abandoned building she was brought to. During this period, the kidnappers informed her husband that she had died. They also took advantage of the situation to extort more money from Kalala. Her husband gladly shipped the funds.
The men released her on the side of the road after two days, but not before handing her a cellphone, recordings of their phone calls with Kalala, and receipts for the $7,000 in Australian dollars they reportedly received from her husband.
Lesson To Learn
“We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened, 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!” they told Rukundo.
This was a weird thing to say, but she will remember this for the rest of her life.
Back at the motel where Rukundo was staying, her brother was concerned about her disappearance. She never told him when she planned to return to Melbourne. Her possessions were also left in the room.
According to her brother, he requested $545 from Kalala in order to pay the police to launch an investigation. The husband immediately wired the money.
Rukundo realized she didn't have much time. She immediately called her church's pastor, Dassano Harruno Nantogmah, who was in Melbourne. Due to Kalala's deception, the pastor was taken aback when he heard her voice.
Hearing the whole story, the pastor was finally convinced. Rukundo requested him not to tell anyone that she was alive. She had a plan to bring her husband down.
She was given a second chance. A new life to make things right. And she wouldn't miss it for the world to watch the expression on her husbands' face.
The pastor assisted her in returning home to her Melbourne neighbourhood without alerting Kalala. Rukundo also requested assistance from the Kenyan and Belgian embassies in order to return to Australia.
Meanwhile, Kalala informed everyone that Rukundo had been killed in a horrible accident. The entire community came together to organize and attend a funeral. Kalala spent the day in grief, surrounded by well-wishers.
Many of the people who came to show their compassion and support sent money. He appeared to be a bereaved husband who had lost someone close to him. However, it appears that things would not be as simple as he had hoped.
Seeing A Ghost
On the day of the 'funeral', February 22, 2015, Kalala received the shock of his life when his wife emerged from a car, during her own burial. Still alive and kicking.
It was getting dark but even in the dark, she could see his expression upon seeing her. Jaws dropped. Speaking gibberish. Like seeing a ghost.
When Kalala was brought in for interrogation, he tried to deny for hours that he was the mastermind. He told the cops that he couldn't do such a thing.
When the police played recordings of his voice as he confessed the scheme and the reasons why he paid hired killers to murder his wife, he realised he had nowhere to go. Kalala began to cry.
Noela and the police were still unable to determine the true reason for Kalala's evil doing.
He could only say this as an answer, "Sometimes Devil can come into someone, to do something, but after they do it they start thinking, 'Why I did that thing?' later."
He was taken by the police. Later he confessed to the crimes he committed. Kalala is accused of attempting to murder his wife because he felt she was having an affair and was ready to leave him
Runkundo, however, denies any such allegations.
"I knew he was a violent man," Rukundo told the media “But I didn’t believe he can kill me." In a trial in December 2016, Kalala pled guilty.
He was sentenced to 9 years in prison by Chief Justice Marilyn Warren. The judge said his conviction was harsh because the murder may have resulted in Rukundo's eight children losing their mother.
Rukundo's life has not been easy, even after her husband's sentence. Rukundo has received criticism from Melbourne's Congolese community for reporting Kalala to the police.
Someone left her threatening messages, and when she got home one day, her back door was shattered. This was very disturbing.
Assistance From The State
Noela Rukundo has now requested assistance from the Department of Human Services in finding a new home to live in and caring for her eight children.
Despite everything, Rukundo has stayed strong. It will always haunt her that her husband who she loved so much hired people to kill her.
A New Beginning
Despite the fact that she and her eight children face a terrible future, Noela does not regret her decision to have him imprisoned. He had committed an unforgivable sin, and her trust and love for him had vanished.
"My situation, my past life? That is gone. I'm starting a new life now."