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Cape Town - Mbekweni police have launched a manhunt for two fugitives wanted for the gang-rape of a 17-year-old and for holding her captive.

Mbekweni is a town in Western Cape.

Four others were arrested and appeared in Mbekweni Magistrate’s Court on Monday. Their case was postponed to March 18 for a bail application.

The case comes three weeks after the rape and murder of Anene Booysen, 17, of Bredasdorp, and a public outcry over the rise in violent crimes against women. Activists and organisations have condemned the violence, UCT being the latest to take a stand when about 3 000 students and staff members held a march on campus on Wednesday.

Mbekweni police station commander Cornelius Geldenhuys said the police had arrested six suspects on Sunday but two had been released when the teenager had not identified them.

He said the men had allegedly kept the girl from February 12 and repeatedly raped her before letting her go four days later.

“When they released her on the Friday in the morning she came directly to the police station to report the incident.”

He said the teenager was in her aunt’s care.

In an interview with the SABC, the 17-year-old said the men had placed a knife on her throat while taking turns raping her.

Mbekweni community policing forum chairwoman Miriam Toni said rape was rife in the area but their challenge was that many young women did not come forward with information.

Anyone with information can call the Mbekweni police station on 021 868 9901, CrimeStop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crimeline on 32211.

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Cape Times