Four boys ‘gang rape four-year-old girl’
Four pre-teen boys have been arrested on suspicion of raping a four-year-old girl in South Africa.
The boys - aged ten to 13 - are being held at a youth detention centre after the girl's mother learned of the alleged attack from her nephew.
The alleged gang rape is said to have taken place on a slum-like housing settlement in Muldersdrift, a rural area 27 km north-west of Johannesburg.
Millions of people are thought to live in similar conditions in poorer rural areas of South Africa.
The girl's mother learned of the alleged attack from her nephew while braiding a customer's hair, according to Eyewitness News.
She and her daughter were taken to the police station where officers opened a rape investigation.
Police spokesperson Mavela Masondo said the boys were expected to appear in court on charges of rape soon.
"The boys, together with their guardians, as well as the mother and the victim, were taken to the police station and a rape case was opened for further investigation," Masondo said.
Meanwhile, in the neighbouring province of Khutsong, a 24-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl.
The man is accused of breaking into the child's home and kidnapping her after she and her older brother had been left alone.
The suspect was eventually found as cops say the mother could face charges of child negligence.
Violence against women and girls is pervasive throughout South Africa despite attempts at legal reforms.
Campaigners have dubbed the country the Republic of Sexual Abuse, adapting the formal name of the Republic of South Africa.
Incidents of violence against women rose sharply after the end of a lockdown-related ban on alcohol sales earlier this year.
'SURGE IN VIOLENCE'
President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the "surge in murders of women and children" in South Africa since the sale of alcohol was allowed again during lockdown.
On June 1 the off-licences and supermarkets were once again permitted to sell alcohol from Monday to Thursday during restricted hours but almost immediately the violence returned.
President Ramaphosa described a horrific string of murder and rape attacks on women and children linked with the renewed sale of alcohol as "dark and shameful" for the nation.
He said: "We note with disgust that when we face the gravest of threats from the pandemic, violent men are taking advantage of the eased restrictions to attack women and children.
"As a man, a husband, and a father I am appalled at what is no less than a war being waged against the women and the children of our society and we need to address it urgently."
The President described what was happening to women and children at the hands of men in South Africa in a televised broadcast to the nation as a "pandemic within a pandemic."
South Africa has one of the highest femicide rates anywhere in the world with more than 2700 women and 1000 children murdered last year and a further 42,000 women raped.
Meghan Markle spoke out against gender based violence during a royal tour to South Africa last year with husband Prince Harry visiting a shrine to a murdered university student.
She tied a yellow ribbon to a balcony outside a post office where Uyinene Mrwetyana, 19, was tortured, raped and murdered by the postmaster at a Cape Town post office.
Numerous horrific attacks were reported on women since the alcohol ban was lifted including the shocking murder of heavily pregnant Tshegofatso Pule, 28.
She was found stabbed repeatedly in the chest and hanging from a tree in Johannesburg.
Mother-of-three Altecia Kortjie, 27, and her daughter Raynecia, 7, were found brutally stabbed to death in a store room at their home in Cape Town.
Originally published as Four boys 'gang rape four-year-old girl'