A FIVE-YEAR-OLD girl was last week raped by an unknown assailant on her way from school, an incident that has cast a dark cloud on Lubangwe village in Hwange.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said the police had launched a manhunt for the unknown person, who raped and killed the girl last Wednesday.
The deceased girl, Makonese said, was returning home from Nyongolo Primary School where she was a Grade 0 pupil.
“She learnt with the other pupils and dismissed at 12:30pm as usual with other Grade 0 pupils,” the police spokesperson said. “The five-year-old then later disappeared on her way home and did not reach home as was expected.”
Makonese said the minor’s grandmother, who was her guardian, started getting worried after her granddaughter had still not arrived at dusk and began asking her neighbours if they had any ideas as to the whereabouts of her granddaughter, but to no avail.
“The minor’s grandmother then proceeded to make a report to the police the next day and filed a missing persons report,” she said. “A long search was then conducted on the same day.”
Makonese said during the search, the missing girl’s brother discovered the minor’s sandals, her underwear and her school water bottle in a plastic bag thrown under the bushes in the Lubangwe area.
“The brother then teamed up with other villagers and they further searched thoroughly around the bushes, 35 metres from where the plastic bag was found,” she said.
“The team then followed the trail where there were indications of a struggle and at the 40-metre spot they discovered the body of the deceased hidden under and covered with a heap of dry twigs and fresh tree branches.”
Makonese said the body had a depression on the forehead and a wound on the back of the head.
She said it was also suspected that the deceased was brutally raped as the body had an enlarged vaginal opening.
The body of the deceased was taken to Hwange hospital and then to a hospital Bulawayo where it awaits a post-mortem.
Makonese warned parents to make sure their children were always accompanied to schools, particularly to institutions that were far from their homes.
She said the public should also advise schoolchildren to always walk in groups and not alone, as this attracted rapists and murderers.