Mystery surrounds fate of ‘female rapists’

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GWERU — Police in Gweru have moved the three women suspected to be part of a syndicate of female rapists and “sperm thieves” to an unknown location following riotous scenes at Gweru Central Police Station where the public converged baying for their blood.

Now referred to as the “condom women” by Gweru residents, the trio’s whereabouts have become subject to speculation with police insiders saying they could have been transferred to Harare as investigations into the case widen.

Police suspect the three are part of a network of women who have been going around giving men rides in their vehicles before drugging and raping them. Men who have fallen victim to the suspects have been invited to an identification parade to help police nail the culprits.

Midlands Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Patrick Chademana told NewsDay the women were still in police custody while investigations continued. He declined to disclose their whereabouts.

But a police insider said there was no law in Zimbabwe criminalising possession of used condoms or semen and therefore no grounds yet to charge the women.

“There is currently no charge because it is not an offence to possess used condoms or semen in your car and therefore a charge has not yet been preferred against the women. What we need is someone who has been raped who can identify these women before we take them to court. They have therefore been transferred to Harare while that process continues,” said the police officer who refused to be named.

Human rights lawyer Trust Maanda said the police were violating the rights of the three women because the law was clear on how suspects should be treated once arrested.

“Unless they have obtained a warrant of further detention, the police are violating the rights of the suspects because the law says they should be brought to court immediately or within 48 hours. If they were arrested on Sunday their rights are being violated according to the laws of this country,” Maanda added.