‘Shame of the Nation’: Over 120 Men Arrested After Gang Rape of 8 Women
Over 120 men have been arrested in South Africa following the gang rape of eight women.
The men, who are believed to be illegal gold miners, are accused of being part of a gang that violently attacked a music video shoot in an abandoned mine in Krugersdorp, a small town just outside of Johannesburg last Thursday.
The youngest victim was reported to be 19, while the oldest was 37.
Initially, 84 were arrested in the aftermath of the attack, but more arrests on Wednesday brings the number to over 120.
It is believed that police are cracking down on illegal miners, who locals accuse of spreading violence.
“The crew of 22 people – 12 women and 10 men– were busy filming a music video when they were allegedly attacked by a group of armed men clad in blankets,” regional police commissioner Lt Gen Elias Mawela said in a statement.
“The suspects ordered everyone to lay down and proceeded to rape eight of the women and robbed everyone of their belongings before fleeing the scene.”
“What happened in Krugersdorp is just a shame of the nation,” South Africa’s police minister, Bheki Cele, added at a press conference on Monday.
The arrests come as part of a crackdown on wider crime in the region. DNA samples will be used to identify the rapists before official charges are brought.
The rape has sparked outrage across the country, with hundreds of demonstrators gathering outside the court this week in Krugersdorp to demand justice.
President Cyril Rampaphosa has condemned the attack, saying it reveals the “dark and ugly side of our society.”
“These horrible acts of brutality are an affront to the right of women and girls to live and work in freedom and safety,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
“Rapists have no place in our society. We call upon communities to work with the police to ensure that these criminals are apprehended and prosecuted.
Our communities must not shelter criminals in their midst.”
South Africa has the world’s third highest rape rate in the world.