More details have emerged on the case of suspected serial killer, Denis Kazungu, who was arrested last week, after scores of bodies were discovered in his rented home, prompting further investigations into his alleged crimes.
34-year-old Kazungu, a resident of Gashikiri village, Busanza Cell, Kanombe sector, in Kicukiro district, was arrested on September 5 by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), with subsequent reports indicating that scores of bodies were discovered in a pit he had dug in what used to be his kitchen.
Kazungu’s heinous acts have left the country shell-shocked and earned him global headlines following his arrest by RIB, working closely with local leaders and residents of the area, which led to the discovery of the bodies in his backyard.
Following his arrest, a lot has been said about the suspected murderer, with locals intimating to the media how his conduct and behavior in the area pointed to something sinister about him.
Questions have emerged as to how he managed to get away with his murderous acts for a long time yet locals allege to have raised the alarm to their leaders, who they say could have acted in time to save lives of women before they became victims of the now infamous “Rwanda serial killer.”
Shock-gripped neighbors claimed to have appealed to the local leader, locally known as “Mutwarasibo”, to take action on Kazungu, who they suspected to be up to something bad after three women reportedly managed to escape his scythe and grip on three different occasions.
It has also emerged that some of Kazungu’s victims have been identified and some families have come forward to report their missing persons but according to the RIB Spokesperson, Dr. Thierry B. Murangira, forensic identification is still ongoing and the process could take a while before victims are named.
Dr. Murangira responded to claims that some local leaders should be held accountable, pointing out that so far there is nothing to prove that there was negligence or any sort of cover-up by anyone, mainly because of how Kazungu operated.
“If you look at the house he lived in, it was sort of isolated and distant from neighbours, which gave him the cover he needed to do what he did. People should avoid any sort of speculation or blame-shifting on this matter until investigations are complete,” Dr. Murangira said.
He pointed out that there is a lot of misleading information on the case being disseminated through the mainstream media and social media, something he said could not only jeopardize investigations but also misinform the public.
Among other claims, it has been said that Kazungu harvested and sold his victims organs but none of this has been confirmed by forensic experts, considering that the identification process is still ongoing.
Dr. Thierry B. Murangira added that, investigations show no link of the suspect to trafficking of human organs. He was also working alone and this is supported by the statement from the suspect himself and that of victims who managed to escape from his residence after being robbed and their money stolen from MoMo.
Names of Victims Emerge
So far, a name of one of the victims has been revealed, with an announcement circulating on social media revealing one Eric Turatsinze, 23, as Kazungu’s victims.
The WhatsApp message, issued by a family of Jean Marie Vianney Habiyambere indicates that Turatsinze went missing in March 2022 and it only emerged that he could have been one of Kazungu’s victims -the only male among the deceased.
The RIB Spokesperson confirmed that among the identified victims there is a name of Eric Turatsinze but distanced the investigative body from the circulating death announcement, pointing out that they don’t recognise the issuers of the communication.
“Turatsinze Eric, born in 1998, was identified among victims killed by Kazungu Denis and the latter confessed to have killed him. His family was informed. Investigations is on the phase of forensic identification, we are waiting for DNA test results for further identification,”
“However, we do not recognise the person who issued the announcement because he is not the father of the deceased, identified as Eric Turatsinze,” Dr. Murangira said, urging people to desist from sharing unverified information on the matter.
“Most of the claims are based on speculations or are emotionally charged and could mislead the public. So far, we are still receiving people who are coming to report their missing persons. We have received three different people,”
“This is a process which might take a while. Identifying bodies too takes a while and can be rigorous but so far, I can confirm that the bodies discovered were all full, from head to toe. We should give forensic experts time to complete the processes,” the RIB Spokesperson said.
Dr. Murangira said that previously cases of theft, rape, use of threats, assault and battery had been reported on Kazungu. He was arrested and charged in court but he was released provisionally due to lack of enough evidence.
“He was provisionally released but we kept monitoring him as a person of interest, until his home was searched and that is when the pit where the bodies were buried was found in what used to be his kitchen. At that time he was re-arrested. There were other cases reported, which we sought to follow up but unfortunately the victims were not willing to share more details,”
“The case is under investigation. People need to avoid speculations and exaggerations. There are no accomplices nor do we have other persons of interest to include in the case,” Dr. Murangira said, dismissing any possibility of a cover up.
He said that prior to his arrest and discovery of bodies, there was no single case of a missing person reported in relation to this matter. It is only now that they are beginning to show up.
“He targeted people who he knew wouldn’t have anyone following up on them, especially sex workers, either because their families didn’t know their whereabouts or simply didn’t have a relative in the area,” Dr. Murangira said.
He pointed out that as of now all evidence points to Kazungu having acted unilaterally and used different tactics to disguise his actions and targeted people he knew would not get anyone looking for them.
“From his physical appearance, Kazungu appeared to be a decent person and he tried his best to disguise his personality and track record, used to dress well and claimed to be someone who does business, which made it difficult for anyone to figure out who he was, including local leaders and his victims,” Dr. Murangira said.
It is understood that Kazungu was involved in different business activities, including as a wholesale trader dealing in groundnuts. He had the resources to woo his unsuspecting victims, especially women, who didn’t see his dark side.
The RIB Spokesperson says that it couldn’t have been possible that local leaders would collude with a murderer or even protect him, doubting that he had any accomplices.
It is understood that Kazungu intimated to investigators that he identified his prey well and manipulated them using money and later lured them to his house, where he would first rob them before killing them. He told interrogators that he did it for money.
Efforts to get a comment from the local leaders of the area where Kazungu lived were futile but Dr. Murangira urged the public to remain calm until the case is presented in court, to avoid any further speculations.
It is expected that his file will be delivered to the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) on Monday.