One woman just gave her husband the surprise of a lifetime — literally.

Australian citizen Noela Rukundo was visiting Burundi to attend her stepmother’s funeral when she was abducted by a group of hit men. The criminals, hired by her husband to kill her, spared her life, however, explaining that they didn’t kill women and children.

Five days later, Rukundo decided to give her husband a shock.


The hit men had already told her husband that Rukundo was dead, so he organized a funeral for his wife of 10 years. Rukundo told BBC News that she showed up at her own funeral, telling her husband, “Surprise, I’m still alive!” Rukundo said her husband looked like he’d seen a ghost — and he actually thought he had.

At first, Rukundo couldn’t believe her husband would try to kill her. She thought he cared about her; they had three children together. But when she was abducted in Burundi, the hit men made a phone call on speaker phone. Rukundo heard a voice directing them to kill her and she recognized it as her husband’s.

The husband, Balenga Kalala, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2004, seeking safety from a rebel army that had killed his first wife and son. He settled in Melbourne, where he met Rukundo, who had moved to Australia in 2004, as well.

“I knew he was a violent man,” Rukundo told BBC News. “But I didn’t believe he [could] kill me. I loved this man with all my heart!”

Luckily, Rukundo had the final word in her relationship with Kalala. The gang of hit men gave her a memory card with phone conversations, along with receipts from Kalala’s money transfers to them, payments for the murder of his wife.

She obtained a court order against her husband, who confessed, on tape, to paying the hit men. Rukundo told BBC News that Kalala wanted to kill her because he was “jealous” she’d allegedly been with another man, according to Australia’s ABC News. Kalala eventually pleaded guilty to incitement to murder in a Melbourne court and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Rukundo, for her part, told BBC News that she’s “starting a new life.”