The small village of Gishikiri, in Kicukiro District, was the epitome of tranquility. People went about their business, unconcerned about the horrors lurking in the shadows—horrors that came to light when authorities arrested Denis Kazungu, a 34-year-old man suspected of being a serial killer.
It all started when Kazungu failed to pay his rent. Frustrated, his landlords sought the help of local authorities. When they arrived to evict him, he became combative and was taken to the area sector police station. Once there, Kazungu shocked everyone by confessing that he had killed several young women and buried their bodies in his house.
Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) spokesperson Thierry Murangira announced the arrest on September 5. “Kazungu is currently at Kicukiro police station as the investigation continues,” Murangira said. When investigators arrived at his rented home, they found a pit covered with a concrete slab. After digging, they discovered 12 bodies. It was later revealed that Kazungu would lure women into his home, sexually assault them, and then kill them after extorting money from them.
Neighborhood resident Ayinkamiye Emeline had no inkling of Kazungu’s dark side. “He looked educated, handsome, and was soft-spoken. He even participated in monthly communal work,” Emeline recalled. Unbeknownst to her and other villagers, Kazungu had a history of crimes between June and July, including rape and extortion. He had even been temporarily released due to lack of evidence.
The chilling discovery led to many unanswered questions. Boniface, an elderly resident, noted that Kazungu had always been secretive, never allowing anyone into his house. Was this secrecy how he managed to evade capture for so long? And did he have accomplices? Considering the depth of the pit and the number of bodies, some neighbors believe he couldn’t have acted alone.
RIB is now expanding its investigation into Kazungu’s past. He had worked in various capacities, including as an English teacher and purportedly had business engagements in Uganda and Kenya. He even had a job contract in Dubai. Authorities suspect that this dark chapter in Gishikiri may not be the first of its kind in Kazungu’s life.
Neighbors are now haunted by the idea that they may have missed signs. Irene Mukasine, one of Kazungu’s closest neighbors, recalled an incident where a young woman ran into her house, screaming for help. Despite these early warning signs, local leaders failed to act. “Kazungu was just arguing with his sex workers,” was the common refrain.