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Rape, murder of S African toddlers: Police arrest five

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – South African police arrested five men for the rape and murder of two toddlers this week that sparked rioting in a restive shantytown northwest of Johannesburg, a spokesman said Friday.

“The fifth (suspect) was arrested this morning,” said police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini.

Four others detained earlier would appear in court Friday, he added.

“Charges against them will be kidnapping, rape, and murder,” he said.

The men were aged between 29 and 47. All lived in Diepsloot township northwest of Johannesburg.

A resident discovered the bodies of the girls, aged two and three, early Tuesday in a communal toilet. They had been missing since Saturday.

Their rape and strangulation caused uproar and angry members of the community in the densely-populated working class shantytown rioted and blocked the streets with rocks and rubble.

Located along one of the country’s wealthiest gated estates, Diepsloot testifies to the country’s huge wealth inequality.

Large parts of the squalid slum have no running water and residents share pit latrines and mobile toilets.

South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Around 16,000 people are killed a year, according to official statistics.

Over half the 54,000 crimes against children reported in the period from 2010 to 2011 were sexual offences, according to the UN children’s organisation Unicef.

Most murders occur in densely populated and poverty-stricken areas with poor policing.

In a separate case, a mother was due in court Friday after her two young children were found dead in a field east of Johannesburg.


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