Noela Rukundo had been with her husband, Balenga Kalala, for 11 years when, last year, she flew from their home in Melbourne, Australia, to her native Burundi for her stepmother's funeral. While there, Kalala ordered gang members to have her killed. They abducted her and told her what they had been hired to do; Rukundo even heard her husband's voice on speakerphone telling them to kill her, the Australian Broadcasting Company reports. The gang members decided not to murder her because they knew her brother and they didn't believe in killing women, but they kept Kalala's money and told him the job was done. She was able to get back home, where, on Feb. 22, 2015, she walked up to Kalala after her own funeral; he'd told everyone she died while in Burundi. "Is it a ghost?" the scared man, who has since been sentenced to nine years for incitement to murder, per the ABC, asked.
Rukundo tells the BBC her husband touched her shoulder to make sure she was real, then began screaming. He apologized, but she called police—and, though Kalala first denied he'd had anything to do with Rukundo's ordeal, she ultimately got him to confess while police secretly recorded one of their phone calls, the Age reports. His explanation to her? He thought she was going to leave him for someone else. "Sometimes Devil can come into someone, to do something, but after they do it they start thinking, ‘Why I did that thing?’ later," he reportedly said. The couple has three children together, and Rukundo also has five from a previous relationship. Since her ordeal, she says, some members of Melbourne's Congolese community have threatened her for reporting Kalala, who is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Read more Australia stories.)