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2011-10-31 Mon 00:09
Three Zimbabwean women have been accused of a series of sex attacks on male hitchhikers, purportedly to steal their semen for use in ritual practices.
In a case that has gripped media and public imagination, the gang appeared in court to face charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Sophie and Netsai Nhokwara, sisters aged 26 and 24, along with 28-year-old Rosemary Chakwizira, are the first suspects to be arrest sinceaccounts of women gang-raping men in Zimbabwe emerged two years ago. They were charged along with Thulani Ngwenya, 24, who is Sophie Nhokwara's boyfriend.
The gang's alleged 17 victims identified so far include a soldier and a police officer whom they allegedly forced to have sex without condoms,the state-owned Herald newspaper reported.
"It is alleged that on 3 March this year at around 7:50am, the four, who were driving a Toyota Spacio without registration numbers, picked a 19-year-old man in Budiriro, Harare," the paper said.
"The teenager was on his way to town. Along the way, the state says they sprayed him with chemicals and he felt dizzy. It is alleged they diverted the route and drove into a bushy area along Mukuvisi river behind Houghton Park where they forced him to drink a concoction, which stimulates sexual desire.
"They then allegedly forced the teenager to be intimate with the three of them using condoms. After this, they secured the used condoms containing semen before spraying him with the same substance and leaving him unconscious. When he woke up, the teenager reported the matter to police."
The women were arrested when they were involved in an accident and police reportedly found 31 used condoms ? three half-full of semen ? in the boot of their car.
James Sabau, a spokesman for Harare police, told state media that preliminary investigations suggested a ritual link to the collection of victims' semen.
"We are still trying to figure out why semen was collected," he was quoted as saying. "Information we have gathered so far links the entire female rapist issue to rituals that make people rich. It is, however, still unclear how the supposed rituals work."
The suspects, "dressed in designer clothes and fancy hairstyles", according to one report, stood in the dock as the charges were read for almost an hour last Friday. They were then remanded in custody until 28 October.