Four boys aged ten to 13 have been arrested on suspicion of raping a four-year-old girl in South Africa.
The boys are being held at a youth detention centre and are expected to appear in court soon over the alleged gang-rape in Muldersdrift, near Johannesburg.
The alleged rape is said to have taken place on an informal settlement, a type of slum-like housing where millions of people are thought to live in South Africa.
The girl’s mother learned of the alleged attack from her nephew while braiding a customer’s hair, according to Eyewitness News.
The mother and daughter were taken to the police station where officers opened a rape investigation.
In a separate case, a 24-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl in Khutsong.
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 found after a ‘lengthy search’ while the mother could also face charges of child negligence, police say.
The UN has said that violence against women and girls is ‘pervasive’ in 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.
To make matters worse, violence against women rose sharply after the end of a lockdown-related ban on alcohol sales earlier this year.
21 women and children were killed in the first three weeks after the sales of alcohol resumed in June, president Cyril Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa described the violence as ‘another pandemic that is raging in our country, condemning the ‘brutality that defies any form of comprehension’.