A court in Muhanga yesterday adjourned the hearing in the case involving a man accused of murdering six members of one family after he allegedly fell sick and couldn’t turn up for the hearing.
Steven Baribwirumuhungu is accused of murdering a mother and her five children last year.
Josephine Kankesha, a mother in her mid 40s, and her five children – three boys and two girls aged between four and 17 years– were killed on August 1 last year, and their bodies piled inside their house in the rural Byimana sector, Ruhango District.
Subsequent investigations led to the arrest of Baribwirumuhungu who later confessed to the gruesome murders.
Also standing trial are brothers Tito Mugemanyi and Livin Uwayisenga who are accused of conspiring with the prime suspect.
Another suspect, Leonidas Simbarubusa, a resident of Ngororero District, is accused of sheltering Babwirumuhungu despite knowing that he had escaped from prison where he had been serving a 20-year sentence for another murder and helping him to change his name in a bid to evade justice after committing the crime.
Baribwirumuhungu was apprehended on August 15 in Ngororero District.
A public trial was organised on Tuesday in Byimana Sector, the site of the massacre. The hearing was followed by hundreds of area residents.
Officials said the Muhanga Intermediate Court had to hear the case from Byimana in order to help area residents follow the proceedings.
But in a twist of events, as residents waited for the hearing to begin, the court announced that the prime suspect couldn’t turn up for the hearing because he had fallen ill.
The court was presented with a medical report attesting that the defendant was suffering from malaria and was undergoing treatment.
Presiding judge Adolphe Udahemuka adjourned the trial to March 24.