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Durban - A brave six-year-old girl raped by two men who abducted her as she walked home from school is on a quest to identify the men who hurt her.

The girl said she wanted to find the men and ask them why they had hurt her and stolen her underwear.

Recovering in Durban’s Addington Hospital after being repeatedly raped, beaten and having her legs burnt, the girl said she could remember the men who snatched her as she walked home from Codemore Primary School in Montclair on Monday.

The nightmare at the hands of the two men, one of them a truck driver, ended when they dumped her on the side of the road, but not before they tried to set her alight.

The girl, who lay bloodied and unconscious in the bushes, had her hands and feet bound with discarded pieces of plastic.

When pain roused her from unconsciousness, her cries were heard by a security guard who found her and rushed her to Brighton Beach police station on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Tribune, the girl’s parents spoke of her horrific ordeal and their desperate attempt to find her when she went missing on Monday.

The girl and her parents cannot be named because she is a minor and a rape survivor.

Her father, with tears in his eyes, said a conversation with his daughter while she recovered in Addington Hospital had broken him.

“She just wants to come out of hospital now, because she says she wants to show us where they took her, and she knows what they look like. She wants to ask them why they hurt her and stole her panties.”

He said his daughter had indicated that the men who had taken her had been shabbily dressed and driving a truck.

“She seems to think they were foreigners, and she says she remembers their faces.

“What these men have done has killed my soul. I am supposed to be the one who protects my children.”

He said that after he had spoken to his daughter, he had had to leave her side and break down in the hallway. “No father should have to feel like this. She had cuts and bruises all over her face and chest. Why would grown men do this to a child?”

Her mother told of her fears when her daughter didn’t come home from school.

“It was starting to get late, and she usually comes home on time. Sometimes she will stop at my sister’s house down the road, so I called her, but she hadn’t been there.”

The women then began frantically calling neighbours and the school, but no one had seen the girl.

“I have never felt so helpless, knowing that there was nothing that I could do. We drove up and down the streets, and every time we saw a little girl in uniform, we got excited, but our hopes were dashed. I couldn’t hold back the tears when we went to the police station and reported her missing.”

Their frenzied search continued into the night: “I was just praying that she was alive.”

The girl is expected to be discharged from hospital today, and will receive trauma counselling.

A source close to the investigation, who would not be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the investigation was ongoing and no arrests had been made.

The source said a district surgeon had examined the girl and forensic evidence had been sent to the police laboratory in Pretoria for a DNA profile.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that the Brighton Beach family crimes section was investigating the case.

Sunday Tribune