Cops too scared to search in the bush

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slovo rapes

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Two children, friends of the two girls who were raped, tell how a strange man approached them for directions. Photo: Timothy Bernard

Slovo Park residents are angry that it took cops hours to respond to the case of missing children who were found the following day – raped.

They say they have had enough of the sexual attacks on children and the lack of police action.

Two girls aged 10 and 11 were kidnapped and raped at the weekend. Angry residents say it brings to six the number of pre-teens that are known to have been raped since January.

The residents believe there’s one perpetrator preying on the young girls.

The latest rape survivors went missing on Sunday afternoon and were only reunited with their distraught mothers on Monday.

They were found near the main road between Slovo Park and Eldorado Park after residents spent the night looking for them.

Two of their friends who were present when the girls were taken said a man approached them and asked them to show him where he could buy milk.

All four decided to walk him to Bushkoppies but when they got there the man said that was not the place he was looking for.

“He told me and Kedibone* to stay behind and then said to Mpho* to choose a friend who will walk with her to where they sell the milk,” said Thato*

He said Mpho chose Nathi* to walk with her.

“When they left we followed them. The man noticed we were following them and chased us away, but we kept following them until they got into a bush.

“We didn’t follow them into the bush. We stood there on the road until it got dark and decided to go home and tell our parents.”

Resident Anna Bazima said the children told them at about 6pm that the girls had been taken by a strange man.

“We decided to mobilise ourselves as a community and look for the children.

“The police joined us at about 9pm to search for the children. When we got to the bush where the children were last seen, the police didn’t want to go in, so we went in and searched,” she said.

“It was dark. We were told by a woman who lives next to the bush that she heard a cough that sounded like that of a child at about 11pm.

“When we didn’t find them there, we headed back to the police station and were told that the night-shift captain was not willing to give us dogs and lights to look for the girls. We were told to open a case and wait for four other police vans.”

Another resident, Mmasontaga Mtezanjuni, said the police vans arrived after midnight and they embarked on another search at a nearby golf course.

“We did not find them. We have not slept since the alarm whistle went off. They were finally found early this morning (Monday) on the road. It took four hours for the police to give us the help we need. In four hours we could have found the girls and prevented the evil thing that happened to them,” she said.

Margaret Zikalala said this is the third time something like this has happened in their area. She said four other girls were raped this year.

“Why is he preying on our children – little girls?” asked angry community leader Edward Phoswa.

When The Star arrived where the community had gathered, the two girls had already been taken to hospital for medical examination. Ward councillor Michelle Valentine said when she received a call late in the afternoon her heart sank.

“I decided to go to the police station at about 9pm and found the parents sitting there. They told me they had been sitting there since 5pm and had not received help from the police. At 11pm… that is when the police allowed the parents to open a case of missing children.”

Police spokesperson Captain Phillemon Khorombi said that two cases of rape were opened and that police would investigate the complaints from residents.

* Not their real names.

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The Star Africa


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