Rising rapes of students vex police

PALAPYE: Letlhakane police are ringing the alarm bells after the recent rapes of two schoolgirls, with teenagers being advised to walk in groups and change their routes to school often.

Letlhakane police station commander, Superintendent Michael Maphephu said students in the area were living in fear of rapists who are striking those walking to or from school early in the morning and in the afternoons. On one of the incidents, a 15-year-old girl was abducted and raped, with her parents apparently failing to report her missing from home even after several days. The girl was found still in her school uniform on Sunday. “This incident is very sad because had the parents bothered to search for their child when they realised she was missing, something could have done to save her.

“It appears that the girl was with her friend going home after school when they were attacked. The friend managed to escape, while the victim was caught,” Maphephu said.

In the other incident, another 15-year-old girl was raped on Monday in the early hours of the morning while walking to school.

“The student was using the usual route to school and the perpetrator pounced on her and dragged her to a nearby bush where he raped her,” the station commander said.

“It seems the perpetrator had always seen the student on the same route and planned his evil deeds.” Maphephu said the incidents had cast a cloud over the village, particularly as no suspects had yet been arrested.

“It is worrisome as students are living in fear of being abducted by rapists and we are afraid that some may end up absconding from school thus affecting their education,” he said.

He advised students and the general public alike to always change routes when going to work or school so that perpetrators do not easily calculate their movements. Students are also encouraged to always walk in groups and if they cannot, their parents should always accompany them, especially in the mornings when it may be dark.

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