Pte. Theogene Sinumvayabo, a Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldier charged with shooting and killing his sister and her husband appeared before the military high court in Kimisagara sector, in Kigali and pleaded for mercy claiming that he committed the horrendous crime under the influence of alcohol.
“I admit the crime and I even ask for forgiveness,” he said as he narrated how events unfolded on September 10.
The evening before he killed Jozefa Mukamugyema and Innocent Nzapfakumunsi, the accused had been at their bar in Kimisagara, allegedly to ask them to refund some Rwf. 100,000, he claims they owed him. After what seems to have been a misunderstanding, the reportedly infuriated soldier left. He went back to his unit in Nyanza, Kicukiro, where he, admittedly, hoodwinked unsuspecting colleagues on duty, and sneaked out with a gun.
Maj. Bernard Ndayisaba, the president of the Military High Court, was not convinced with the use of alcohol as an excuse.
“For you to reach the extent of deciding to kill someone you are related to, your sister, and her husband, who is your brother-in-law, for only Rwf 100,000 is not clear,” Maj. Ndayisaba told the accused.
“On the issue of being drunk, after hearing how you returned to your unit and sneaked out with the murder weapon, it is clear that it was all planned and you knew what you were going to do.”
The court heard that at around 3:00 a.m., on the tragic morning, Sinumvayabo climbed over the deceased’s compound and waited at the door until about 6:00 a.m., when the children opened. He then forced his way in, shot and instantly killed the defenceless couple, the husband first, as the children watched, before taking off. He was arrested by police, on the scene, shortly after.
With arms folded behind his back, all that Sinumvayabo could finally say in court was: “Many things have been said, many that I already knew and others that I did not know, but all I can only say is I ask for forgiveness, and nothing else.”
The prosecutor stressed that it was a case of premeditated murder and pushed for a maximum sentence including life imprisonment and expulsion from the army. The verdict will be heard on October 15.