22 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Missing Girl (Ten) Found Dead, Rape Suspected

A 10-YEAR-OLD girl who reportedly went missing in Rugare, Harare, last Sunday was found dead on Wednesday with police suspecting she could have been raped before being killed by unknown assailants. Fear gripped the suburb yesterday as residents suspected the assailants would strike again.

Stacy Munjoma's body was found at around 9am near the Rugare Community Hall security wall by a man who was tending his crops.

Her body was half naked while part of her blouse had bloodstains.

Police confirmed the incident and said no arrests had been made so far and investigations are still in progress.

According to sources, the girl visited her relatives in Kambuzuma, which is adjacent to Rugare, for the weekend.

She was accompanied back home by her two cousins who later left her alone near the intersection of Kambuzuma and Nyashanu roads.

It is believed that she met the assailants who kidnapped her along the way.

The following day, her grandparents went to look for her in Kambuzuma, but were informed that she had left the previous day whereupon they made a report to the police.

On Wednesday morning, a Rugare resident went to his maize field which was near the scene and discovered the body.

Police discovered that Stacy was only wearing a floral blouse that had bloodstains.

She had bruises inside her left thigh, while a bag containing clothes and towels lay beside the body.

Stacy's black-and-white pant was more than a metre away from the body and there were struggle marks at the scene.

The body was taken to Harare Central Hospital mortuary for post-mortem.

When The Herald visited the house where mourners are gathered in Rugare, a sombre atmosphere was engulfing the whole neighbourhood.

Many people could be seen thronging the house to pay their condolences and openly expressing fears over the lack of safety for their children.

Mrs Rosemary Musa, Stacy's aunt, said the minor left Rugare for Kambuzuma with her niece and that was the last time they saw her.

"She left home on Friday on her way to Kambuzuma where her other aunt wanted to plait her hair," she said. "She was with her niece and they arrived safely in Kambuzuma. On Sunday they took her half-way while she was coming back before they helped her cross the City-Mufakose road, but she did not get home.

"We searched in all the bushes and thickets close by but we saw nothing. I then received a call from the police while I was in Westwood and they notified me she had been found dead.

"She was lying naked with her face down. It was visible she was raped before she was killed and I did not have the chance to fully see if her body parts had been mutilated."

Mrs Musa said the family was yet to decide on burial arrangements.

"We have not decided about Stacy's burial arrangements since her father and mother are still in South Africa. We are also waiting for a post-mortem from the police," she said.

"After that, the family could be in a position to decide."

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