File picture: Independent Media

King Williams Town - A 26-year-old Eastern Cape man has been sentenced to three life terms for the 2016 kidnapping and rape of a 10-year-old girl in Kwelerane Location outside King Williams Town.

Police spokesperson Captain Siphokazi Mawisa said on Wednesday that the Bhisho High Court convicted and sentenced Siyabuza Yanga Dyafta for the October 2016 attack on the girl.

"The victim was sent to the local shop when the suspect kidnapped her. The family, together with community members, went for search after she did not come back. The suspect assaulted the community members when they found him in a nearby house where he raped the child. He then ran with the girl to his home. He was later found from his home and the suspect fled. He later handed himself to Izele Police in October 2016."

According to Mawisa, Dyafta first appeared at Zwelitsha Magistrate Court and was granted R500 bail before the case was transferred to High Court where he appeared several times. In August he was found guilty of three counts of rape, as well as kidnapping, and remanded.

On Tuesday the court sentenced him to three life terms on the three counts of rape, and eight years for kidnapping.