Suspected Rwanda serial killer pleads guilty 

Denis Kazungu in court on September 21, 2023.

Photo credit: Courtesy

A Rwandan man pleaded guilty on Thursday to  killing 14 people after the discovery of a pile of bodies buried in a hole in his kitchen.

Denis Kazungu, 34, was indicted with multiple charges including murder, rape, forgery, impersonation and desecration of human corpses.

At a packed court hearing in Kigali, Kazungu said "yes" when asked by the judge if the prosecution allegations against him were correct.

"Those who I killed had infected me with HIV," said Kazungu, who was brought to the hearing by police in handcuffs that were later removed.

Kazungu was detained earlier this month after police discovered 12 bodies, most of them women, in a hole in the kitchen of his rented home in a Kigali suburb where he lived alone.

"In his statement, Kazungu admitted that although 12 bodies were found in the hole, he had actually killed 14 people and had dissolved two of his victims," a prosecutor told the court, adding that the two other victims had not yet been found.

“After he lured his victims from bars to his house, he would suddenly attack them with blunt objects and then tie them up, undress them and take their belongings."

"He would then force them to give him their phone passwords and he then proceeded to withdraw money from their phones. After that he would kill them and dump them in the hole." 

The prosecutor said some victims were able to escape and provide information to police about the assaults.

Kazungu asked the court to hold his trial behind closed doors.

"There are crimes I committed which are very grave and I do not want the details to be covered by the media, or for such details to inspire others like me to do what I did."

The judge however said the case would continue to be heard in public. The court is due to make a ruling on bail at a hearing on September 26.

Kazungu had initially been arrested in July on suspicion of robbery and rape among other offences but was granted bail due to a lack of evidence, police had said.

When the suspect was arrested in early September, a police source told AFP he had confessed that he learned to kill his victims, most of them sex workers, from watching films about notorious serial killers.

Media reports said Kazungu had held various jobs, including as an English teacher.