September 9, 2019

Four “Broken Heart” Suicides On a Single Friday Last Week


Medics in desperate attempt to save Hatangimana Scolastique moments after she jumped off Makuza Plaza in Kigali’s CBD. She died in hospital later that day

Two people have died from suicide since Friday last week, and two others are in hospital after they failed to kill themselves.

At least, these are the cases that have been reported. Some concerned voices, meanwhile, are warning that the manner in which local media is reporting the cases, could be catalysing, instead of helping.

The most shocking happened on Friday morning September 6 around 11am. Hatangimana Scolastique, 25, jumped off the Makuza Plaza in the middle of Kigali city in broad day light. She died later that evening.

Hatangimana left several suicide notes including one for her boyfriend and a family member. In the one for her fiancé, she accuses him of not loving her back enough despite all her efforts.

It is reported that, despite being an orphan, who also struggled through school, she was able to get scholarship to study in India. While there, she sent money to her boyfriend to support him. With all these actions, her boyfriend allegedly was involved with other women.

On Saturday morning, news also emerged that in Giheka village, Kagugu cell, Kinyinya sector of Gasabo district, a man had also committed suicide the previous night.

Bukake Théogene killed himself, accusing his wife of denying him conjugal rights, according to neighbors. The Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) was on the scene with ambulances and took away the body, but has yet to give any update.

Bukake was said to be HIV positive and had been refused unprotected sex by the wife. She would only agree if he used a condom. The situation had been going on for some time, as the man had confided with neighbors and friends.

On Friday still, in the afternoon, another man in Jali sector of Gasabo district, jumped into Nyabarongo river attempting to kill himself. The unnamed man is recovering at the Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK).

Local media reported from witnesses that the man found out his girlfriend was in a lodge with another man.

Another suicide case emerged this Monday. At the University of Rwanda College of Education in Kayonza district, eastern province, a male student there also tried to commit suicide on Friday.

The 2nd Year student of History and Geography reportedly discovered that his assumed girlfriend was actually in love with another student. He swallowed rat poison, but was found by other students before he died.

The young student is admitted at Gahini Hospital in same region.

The first case of Hatangimana received extensive coverage on local media and social media due to the location. The story of the victim also raised more interest.

As this suicide case and others which became public on Saturday and Sunday, some people on social media offered an explanation.

“When a public suicide happens, and those who report on it or discuss it online aren’t careful with their messaging, it can actually cause what’s called “suicide contagion”,…” wrote Habimana Christian on Twitter in a long Thread.

“Contagion is a phenomenon in which additional suicides happen after the coverage of a suicide in the media.”

He went on to give “DOs” and “DON’Ts” for media reporting about suicides.

This particular Threat was received with great interest.


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