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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Five boys aged 10 and 11 allegedly gang-rape their friend’s sister aged 5

In another incident, nine-year-old twins allegedly sexually assaulted their five-year-old neighbour.

The provincial commissioner of the South African Police Service (Saps) in Limpopo, Thembi Hadebe, has raised concerns over the incidents of rape involving minors as both victims and perpetrators in the province.

This after incidences of sexual assault and rape allegedly involving boys under the age of 12 on Thursday and Friday last week.

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Presenting the province’s third quarter crime stats in February, Hadebe bemoaned the rise in gender-based violence incidences against children under the age of 18 and sexual assault cases in the province.

“We are more concerned about the rise in the number of GBV cases against children under the age of 17. As we move forward with our strategies to curb GBV, we are working towards revising the GBV plan and engaging with other stakeholders to improve our capabilities, closely monitor, and also improve the working environment of the FCS unit to better deal with the scourge of GBV in the Province.”

This as the province recorded a decrease in the number of victims of GBV over the age of 18.

In recent incidents that took place separately, two minor girls aged five and six were sexually assaulted by minor boys in Mopani District.

ALSO READ: Crime stats: Murders increase in SA while sexual offences decline

In the first incident that took place on Thursday in Topanama village, a six-year-old girl was sexually assaulted, allegedly by her nine-year-old twin neighbours.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, the victim’s mother found out about the matter after the little girl broke her silence.

She told her that she was assaulted, allegedly by the two boys while they were playing.

In the second incident that took place on Friday in Makhushane village, a five-year-old girl was gang-raped, allegedly by five minor boys, including her 11-year-old biological brother.

The children, aged between 10 and 11, are all friends of the victim’s brother.

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According to Ledwaba, the mother became aware of the incident after the girl confided in her elder cousin, and she immediately alerted her mother, who was at work at the time.

She then rushed back home.

The cases were transferred to the Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offenses Unit for further investigations, with the intervention of the probation officer.

Hadebe called on parents and guardians to foster environments where children are educated on respect, consent, and the importance of protecting one another from harm.

“It is imperative that we, as a society, instil values of empathy and understanding in our children. The home should be the first classroom where lessons of dignity and respect are taught,” said Hadebe.

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“We cannot turn a blind eye to these disturbing incidents. It is the duty of every citizen to act against violence and abuse. Let us unite in protecting our children and building a safer, more compassionate society for all.”

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