Rwanda probing agency arrests man suspected to be serial killer

Thursday September 07 2023

A security officer opens a Rwanda Investigative Bureau vehicle door. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG


The Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) has arrested a man suspected to be a serial killer targeting women, after authorities found up to 12 bodies buried in one of the houses quarters next to his main house.

Residents of Gishikiri village, Busanza cell in Kicukiro District, had on Monday been struck by terror when authorities discovered bodies of women in a house. The suspect Denis Kazungu confessed to have killed and buried them in a hole he dug in the house.

It all started when the owners of the house he rented sought help of authorities after he ignored pleas to pay rental arrears totalling Rwf700,000 ($578) he owed and also refused to vacate the house.

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When local authorities came to ask him to vacate the house, Kazungu attempted to fight them, forcing them to take him to the area sector police station.

It is there that he told them that he has killed several young women and buried their bodies in a pit he dug inside the house, to everyone’s bewilderment.


The voluntary confession prompted authorities to deploy people to the house, who found a pit covered with a concrete slab, and upon digging the pit they found 12 bodies.

“On September 5, RIB in collaboration with local authorities arrested Kazungu Denis who is suspected to have killed people and buried them in a house he rented in Busanza cell, Kanombe sector in Kicukiro District,” RIB spokesperson Thierry Murangira said.

“He is currently being kept at Kicukiro police station as investigations continue to establish the actual number of those he murdered and their whereabouts, and for his file to be opened and sent to prosecution” he added.

It is suspected that Kazungu would lure his victims inside the house and sexually assault them, extort money from them after which he would kill them.

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Ayinkamiye Emeline, a relative to Kazungu’s landlord and a neighbour, says save for the failure to pay rent, there was nothing odd about him that would make anyone suspect him to be such a heinous killer.

He used to participate in all village activities like the monthly communal work (Umuganda), where he even gave constructive ideas.

“We have often seen girls entering his house, at times two girls in one day, but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary about him.”

“He looked like an educated person, handsome and had soft spoken with a charm about him. We didn’t know the kind of work he did but nothing about him would make anyone suspect him to be this killer we know now” said Uwinkamiye.

She said the fact that his house was a bit secluded from others, and in its own enclosure helped give him privacy to conduct his nefarious activities without prying eyes.

The RIB spokesperson told local press that Kazungu had a history of crimes levelled against him between June and July, like rape, extortion and he was temporarily released by the courts due to insufficient evidence from the accuser.

According to eyewitnesses, some of the bodies recovered from the pit especially those found on top are still new and had not yet decomposed, while the ones down had decomposed.

The identities of the victims are yet to be established, RIB and other authorities are conducting investigations to find out families from which these victims came from.

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It is reported that Kazungu would threaten his victims until they shared their mobile money codes, after which he would transfer their money before killing them.

That he also kept their mobile phones and identifications in his house.

It is said that one of the 12 victims is a man, who he killed and has been using his identifications in some of his activities, the rest are women.

This comes seven months after police arrested another serial killer, Usto Hafashimana who confessed to have killed four people mostly security guards from different parts of Kigali.

Some of his victims included Leonce Nshimiyimana, Vedaste Gafaranga and Gideon Nyakabanda, who he hacked to death with a machete before beheading them and throwing their heads in different water channels.

The other two security guards he attempted to kill survived with grave injuries.

If convicted, Kazungu’s sentence will be life imprisonment.