8 January 2013

Rwanda: How Doctor Mbukani Was Murdered

Photo: Quotidien Mutations
Symbol of justice.

One of the two suspects in the murder of Dr. Radjabu Mbukani, 38, a former lecturer at the National University of Rwanda, who was found dead in Kigali, last week, narrated to journalists how they were allegedly hired to kill the medical doctor and later dispose of his body.

Jean Paul Cyuma, 32, and his accomplice, identified as Vital, are currently under police custody on suspicion of bludgeoning the NUR lecturer to death after they were allegedly hired by one Louise Marie, 28, the mother of his two children.

The police are also holding the woman's elder sister, Clarisse, on charges of conspiring to murder. The surnames names of the other suspects have deliberately been withheld until they appear in court.

Clad in a black leather jacket, a brown top and blue jeans, Louise Marie, was at 11a.m yesterday paraded by police before journalists alongside the other suspects, the first time she has appeared in public since her arrest last Saturday.

Speaking in Kinyarwanda in a shaky low voice, Cyuma confessed to receiving an advance payment of Rwf80, 000 from Louise to kill the medical doctor. He also named Louise's elder sister as the 'go-between' who connected the two sides.

"Clarisse told me that her sister needed an urgent service from me. I got her contacts and when we talked, she said she needed two people to kill someone and that the fee was Rwf300, 000," Cyuma narrated.

"When I shared the information with Vital, he and I got very scared, so we decided to get the money and disappear without committing the crime. But later we decided to do it because we needed all the money."

Cyuma claimed the doctor was the first person he had killed, an action he "regrets" and "hopes it never happens again."

"I am a normal cobbler who never killed anyone before and Vital is a bus conductor in Nyamirambo, we were only tempted by the money and nothing else," he added.

Cyuma explained that on Saturday December 29, last year, at about 6:30p.m, he was alerted by Louise that her husband had come home to visit and that they needed to get there on time to accomplish their mission.

"Vital and I rushed with metal bars to her home and entered the house. I hit him with a metal on the head and when he fell down, my colleague hit him with another metal in the mouth and he went silent. His wife watched this as it happened in the living room, while the children were in another room," Cyuma said.

"His wife then told us to fold the body in a sack and take it to a car which was waiting outside. We put it in the trunk and drove to Kanyinya (in Nyarugenge district) and dumped it in a forest."

As it turned out, the silver Audi A5 in which Dr. Mbukani's body was transported to the forest was the same car he had come driving on that fateful day, according to police.

Sources said that it was returned after making the trip to the forest.

However, Louise denied the allegations linking her to her husband's death, saying she had never had any contact with the two suspects.

"I miss my husband and wish he could return to me. I don't know who these two men are and don't know what they are doing here. I have nothing to do with them. I have nothing to tell you because I don't know," she told journalists.

Louise, who is a student at Kigali Independent University (ULK), also denied that she had any rift with her late husband.

However Louise's elder sister said the contrary, claiming that Louise revealed to her the plan to kill, albeit not mentioning who the target was.

"My sister contacted me that she wanted me to help her get someone who can kill a rich foreigner and take his money; I told her that it was wrong and that she would not get away with it," Clarisse argued in a confident tone.

"I thought she had given up but later she contacted me again, saying she needed two strong men to lift home equipment. So I contacted the two men and told them to talk to her, but in all honesty I did not know what she was planning or what they would eventually do."

When The New Times visited the crime scene yesterday, neighbours were still engulfed in shock and unable to understand how everything unfolded so fast without notice.

Neighbours speakout

The small two-roomed house in which the murder happened is located in a traditionally slum area in Nyamirambo, surrounded by a neighbourhood of four other small houses.

"I knew that Louise and her husband were not formally married; she told me that they had issues and had separated. She used to tell me that he was not providing her with the money and care that she wanted, but I never suspected that she would want to kill him," one neighbour said on condition of anonymity.

Another neighbour chipped in, alleging that Louise had learned that the deceased doctor was planning to marry another woman from the United States.

On the day before he died, Dr. Mbukani reported that his life was threatened by his wife, according to the sector authorities.

"He came to my office on Friday and reported that his wife had threatened to kill him. We talked to her but never got reason to arrest her, although we kept her summons for more investigation," Godans Uwitonze, in charge of Social Affairs and Development at Nyakabanda 2 Sector told The New Times.

Police confirmed that it had in the previous months received reports from Dr. Mbukani about his wife's ill-motives but investigations were conducted to no avail.

"Dr. Mbukani reported of threats twice and we took action by arresting his wife; he, however, came back and asked us to release her, saying she is the mother of his children. We then released her upon his request," Police Spokesman Supt. Theos Badege, said. "Investigations show that Louise and her husband were cohabiting. When they separated, they had an informal agreement that Dr. Mbukani would be providing Rwf200, 000 per month to take care of the children. However, they disagreed because Louise wanted more - this could have been the source of the problem," Badege said.

The sad news is still fresh in the minds of Dr. Mbukani's students at the National University of Rwanda where he taught gynaecology.

"He taught me gynaecology in my forth year, the last time we talked is when I was going for an exam and he wished me good luck. It is unbelievable that such a good man was taken away in such terrible circumstances," Ashil Manirakiza, a sixth year medicine student at NUR, said.

Police is still searching for more suspects in the case, particularly the person who drove the car that dumped Dr. Mbukani's body to the forest in Kanyinya Sector, along the Kigali-Ruhengeri road, about 10km away from the crime scene.

His blood stained body was discovered lying in the forest last Thursday by a resident of Kanyinya in Nyarugenge district, who alerted police.

This is contrary to earlier reports that the deceased's body was found hanging in a tree.

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