KIGALI, Sept 1 – At least 15 women, most of them prostitutes, have been killed in the Rwandan capital over the past three months, police said on Saturday, triggering fears of a possible serial killer.
Local authorities have boosted security after the wave of killings, the most recent being the murder of three women including two prostitutes who were strangled in broad daylight on Tuesday in a house in a working-class neighbourhood of Kigali.
“At first we thought they were isolated acts… one of the first murders appeared to be linked a financial dispute,” said police spokesman Theo Badege. “But we quickly realised it could be something else.”
While declining to make a direct connection between the murders and the victims’ profession, Badege acknowledged that it was a “trend” and that all avenues were being investigated.
“I know women who have been killed. I was with one of them just an hour beforehand,” said a 28-year-old prostitute who gave her name as Eugenia and lives not far from the scene of the latest murders in the Gastata district.
“Now I’m afraid to go to work. Before these murders there was no problem, we felt safe. I used to get home by 10 pm, now I try to get back before sunset.”
Local authorities in the affected areas have boosted security, with guards paid by residents patrolling the streets day and night, while meetings are being held to raise awareness about the murders.