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Johannesburg - A man was castrated and beaten to death, allegedly by community members, following a gang rape of two girls, aged 14 and 18, by three men at an informal settlement in Ivory Park in MIdrand, Johannesburg late on Saturday night, Gauteng police said.

Police were following leads to arrest the two other suspects who managed to escape from the community members as they tried to apprehend the men at the scene of the crime, Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said on Sunday.

A murder case had been opened in connection with the death of the alleged rapist, but no arrests had yet been made, he said.

Allegations were that the two girls walking to Lindokuhle informal settlement were confronted by three men armed with a knife and a firearm. The men then raped them repeatedly.

''A member of the public who saw the incident alerted the community who came out and confronted the alleged rapists. Two of the suspects managed to escape and the other was caught and allegedly killed by members of the community at the scene,'' Dlamini said. 

In an unrelated incident in Thokoza Park in Soweto, Johannesburg, police were also investigating an incident in which a man from Orange Farm was fatally assaulted when he was attacked by ''a group of youngsters''.

''It is alleged that the victim was accompanying schoolgirls from Orange Farm and the boys from Soweto came to the park and harassed the girls. As the victim was trying to protect the girls, he was assaulted and died from a stab wound to his chest,'' Dlamini said.

And in another unrelated case, three suspects were being sought by police following a gang rape of four girls, aged between 13 and 17, in Ratanda near Heidelberg, southeast of Johannesburg in the early hours of Sunday morning, he said.

It was alleged that the girls were returning from a night vigil when they were attacked by three unknown men armed with knives. The girls were all raped, Dlamini said. 

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela had tasked members of the family violence, child protection, and sexual offences unit to ''work around the clock and arrest these rapist who attack innocent young women''.

African News Agency (ANA)