FOUR PEOPLE suspected to be behind the murder of six family members in Ruhango District earlier this month have appeared before Muhanga Intermediate Court for the first time following the gruesome murder.
The suspects include Steven Baribwirumuhungu, the prime suspect in the murder who has confessed to killing a mother and her five children in Byimana Sector.
Others are Tito Mugemanyi and Levine Uwayisenga, two brothers from Ruhango whose blood-soaked clothes were recovered at the scene of crime. Prosecution believes they might have taken part in the murder.
A fourth suspect, Leonidas Simbarubusa, a resident of Ngororero District, is being accused of sheltering Babwirumuhungu despite knowing that he had escaped from prison where he had been serving a 20-year sentence for another murder.
During the initial court hearing on Tuesday, court heard details of how the family was wiped out in an incident that shocked the nation.
Baribwirumuhungu, who pleaded guilty to murdering the family, told court he murdered the six individuals after he felt they might ‘betray him’ and inform local leaders or the police about his escape from prison.
He killed them using a machete and a club, killing one after another in less than 30 minutes, according to a detailed description of the incident that he narrated before court.
Asked who helped him to carry out the murders, he replied: “I acted alone.”
“I was angry against the family because they were forcing me to leave and were threatening to alert authorities. I feared I was going to be arrested and taken back to prison,” Babwirumuhungu said.
Babwirumuhungu also claimed that the deceased mother had refused to pay him back Rwf200, 000 she owed him.
However, brothers Mugemanyi and Uwayisenga pleaded not guilty and distanced themselves from the prime suspect.
The duo denied taking part in the murders and asked court to release them, arguing that there was no reason for detaining them when someone had already confessed to the murder.
Simbarubusa also pleaded guilty to the crime.
He told court he knew Baribwirumuhungu had escaped from prison but did not know about his intention to commit murder.
Prosecution requested the court to remand the suspects for 30 days pending further investigations.
A judge’s decision is expected on Thursday afternoon.