Bloemfontein - Nine youths, including five minors, appeared in the Heilbron Magistrate's Court on Friday in connection with the gang rape of a 24-year-old woman, said Free State police.

Constable Peter Kareli said the case against the boys was postponed to March 1 as the boys did not have legal representation.

The five minors were released into the custody of their guardians.

Police said the youths, aged between 15 and 19, were arrested after an attack on a couple returning from a family gathering in the Phiritona area.

A group of boys assaulted the man and woman, demanding money and cellphones.

The woman's husband escaped and ran for help.

The police were contacted and a search for the woman begun.

Kareli said the woman was later found near an open field.

She said she had been taken to a quarry and repeatedly raped by the youths. - Sapa