HomeStandard StyleUproar over ‘rapist soldiers’

Uproar over ‘rapist soldiers’

BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA

VILLAGERS in Shangani, Matabeleland South province, have accused the police of failing to arrest two soldiers allegedly hiding at a minister’s farm after they raped a 19-year old girl last year.

Villagers told Sunday Southern Eye that the sexual assault incident was well-known in the community, but no action has been taken.

“As a retired member of the national army, I am very touched by what happened to this girl.

“We all witnessed the incident.

“We know these boys are currently staying at a plot owned by minister Sithembiso Nyoni and they are doing farming business there,” a retired soldier and villager Julius Zulu said.

“I have been communicating with some cops and they say their bosses are stalling the case.

“These people should be protecting citizens not raping them. I don’t understand how the army trains its members. We are so disappointed.”

When contacted for comment Nyoni said the law must take its course, but professed ignorance about the incident.

“It does not matter who did it or where, the law must take its course,” she said.

“It’s unacceptable. Rape and the abuse of women and girls must be condemned and perpetrators brought to book.”

Another villager, who spoke anonymously, said there were a lot of criminal cases that police have failed to deal with.

“We are tired of what is happening in our area,” he said.

“Some police members have been accused of being involved in livestock theft, illegal mining and accepting bribes, but they don’t get arrested.

“This has to stop. We want justice for that poor girl.”

The allegations are that on November 6, 2021 two soldiers drugged a 19-year-old girl before locking her in a room at the business centre before raping her.

The victim said the incident has caused huge damage to her mental health.

“It was on 6 November when the soldiers locked me up in room at the back of the shop that I used to work at and raped me,” she said.

“I screamed hoping that people would come and help me because we were at the business centre and I could hear a lot of people talking outside.

“On the following day, I was taken to the police station by one of the community members to report the matter.

“I reported the case and a few days after that, I heard that no one had been arrested.

“We also went back to the police to ask them why the perpetrators were still roaming around.

“The police in charge of the case said some procedures needed to be followed when dealing with people with such positions and it was difficult to arrest them because they might be armed with guns.”

The victim said she received counselling from Msasa Project, a women’s rights group.

“I was taken to a support group in Bulawayo called Msasa and I stayed there for three weeks,” she said.

“They examined me and gave me all the medication that I needed.

“All I wish is for the perpetrators to be arrested so that I can find closure.”

“I had no choice but to resign from work because I could not stand the trauma.

“Now I’m back at my home. I’m temporarily staying with my aunt and I’m still trying to forget what happened and find another job to sustain my life.”

Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena said they had not received a report about the rape case.

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