Suspected serial killer arrested in Kigali

On 6 February 2023 at 06:37

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has arrested a man said to be behind series of murder in Kigali and in Rwamagana District.

Usto Hafashimana alias Yussuf, 34, was arrested on Friday, February 3, in Nyamirambo, Nyarugenge District following two months of investigations into four separate gruesome murders and two cases of attempted murder.

He was paraded to the media on Sunday, February 5, at Kigali metropolitan headquarters in Remera, Gasabo District.

The inhuman acts were committed between December 27, last year and January 23.

Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, the RNP spokesperson, said that the arrest of Hafashimana was a result of thorough investigations.

"All the four murders and two attempted murders, were committed in the same scenario, with a machete, sometimes beheading the victims. Investigations connected all these dots and information from other people, whom he was also conniving with in other criminal acts of theft, helped to identify and arrest the suspected killer," CP Kabera said.

How Hafashimana was committing the murders

While speaking to the media, Hafashimana said that he was killing them with a machete and would kill only those he found sleeping.

"It was a random target. I didn’t know or have any history with those I killed. I would go household by household at night and anyone I found sleeping, especially security guards, I would kill them with a panga. I beheaded two of them, took their heads and dumped them in a well," Hafashimana said.

A decapitated head of one of the victims, was recovered in a swamp in Masaka Sector, Kicukiro District.

When asked how many people he had killed, Hafashimana said: "I knew that I had killed six people, but I was told that I killed four and two others survived. The plan was to kill at least 40 people."

The murders

On December 27, last year, Hafashimana allegedly beheaded one only identified as Matayo, in Kicukiro District, Kigarama Sector, Rwampala Cell, Uwateke Village. The decapitated body was recovered in Rwampala swamp.

On December 30, the duo of Vedaste Hagenimana, 22, and Philemon Nzabagerageza, 27, were allegedly attached by Hafashimana with a machete at a construction site in Nyarugunga Sector, Kibaya Cell in Kamashashi Village.

They both survived with injuries. Hagenimana lost his left eye while Nzabagerageza’s left hand was also cut off.

Later on January 15, one Vedaste Gafaranga, a night guard in Marembo Village, Nyarukombe Cell of Muyumbu Sector, Rwamagana District, was killed.

Hafashimana is also said to be behind the murder of one Gideon Niyonsenga, on January 18, in Kanyinya Village, Nyagahinga Cell, Rusororo Sector in Gasabo District. Niyonsenga was also a night guard.

One Leonce Nshimiyimana was also beheaded on January 30, in Rusororo Sector, Gasabo District.

Nshimiyimana was Hafashimana’s close friend. Investigations indicate that he killed him in a bush in Rusororo Sector where they were at the time hiding and planning to break into one of the houses in the area to steal valuables.

At the time of his arrest, Hafashimana was also found with assorted valuables belonging to some of the victims, including mobile phones.

The suspect, who hails from Ngororero District has a history of burglary. He was previously convicted for theft and served two years at Nyarugenge prison between 2015 and 2017.

Survivors narrate the ordeal

Hagenimana and Nzabagerageza narrated how on the night of December 30, last year, as they were sleeping, were attached.

"It was at about 01a.m, when someone armed with a machete, appeared from nowhere as we were asleep, and started cutting us. We don’t know how we survived by somehow, God was with us," said Hagenimana.

Rashid Barinda, who was employing the deceased, Gideon Niyotwagira, said that the attack happened at about 03:45a.m.

Nzabagerageza said: "I lost my hand and the other was left injured... I cannot do anything. My worry right now is my child, who expects all the parental support, which I can no longer give. Any support to find other means of survival besides using my hands, to support my child, will be much appreciated."

"I heard a scary sound, but at once I thought that maybe Niyotwagira had fell down. When I came out, I found my security guard lying dead in a pool of blood," Barinda said.

Japhet Niyonshima, a twin brother to Niyotwagira, narrated how as brother came to Kigali to work.

"We came to Kigali three months ago, from Ngororero, to look for casual jobs. We were staying together in Rusororo although my brother had a night duty as a security guard, where he was killed as he was sleeping," Niyonshima narrated.

Meanwhile, CP Kabera said that the arrest of Hafashimana saved lives of many other people.

Murder under article 107 of the law determining offences and penalties in general, is punishable with life imprisonment.

Hafashimana was paraded to the media on Sunday, February 5, at Kigali metropolitan headquarters in Remera, Gasabo District.