Zimbabwean gives account of gang rape
TWO white Zimbabweans were violently raped by a gang of government supporters on Tuesday, hours after President Mugabe branded white farmers the enemy of the state.
The husband of Sarah, the 25-year-old victim, gives his account of the attack. The other victim, Jane, is her 18-year-old sister, who was visiting. The family are not farmers but live in a cottage on a small-holding a few miles outside Harare. The names have been changed. "Sarah went to the verandah at about 9pm to pick up a tea tray. She saw this man run round from the side of the house. She tried to scream but one of them grabbed her around the throat.
About four others came in through the door for me. Two of them held me, one of them hit me repeatedly in the face with a brick till I went down. They were threatening me with a knife as well. They told me not to make any noise.
They continually threatened me with a knife, even putting it on my wrist. They were intimidating, telling me not to make any noise. At the same time they were strangling me. They held my throat until I stopped moving.They used neckties and an electric cable to tie my feet and arms behind my back and pushed me to the ground.
They were speaking Shona. I understand it pretty well. I don't think they knew that. They were discussing whether they should kill me or not. One said to me, 'If you don't make any noise we will let you live', while the other two were discussing whether to kill me or not.
They took my wife through to the bedroom and they tied her feet and hands behind her back and they gagged her. They found Jane in the spare room and they only tied her arms and legs behind her. She was hiding in the cupboard but they found her pretty quickly.
Then they kept asking all of us, 'Where is the gun? Where is the money? Where is the safe?' That's how it started off. They dragged me through to the main bedroom where Sarah was. That is when they held the knife to my wife's leg and told her not to make any noise.
Then one of them put his knee between her legs and demanded that she open her legs, which she couldn't do because she was tied up. Then one of them cut the ties. Then they cut her shorts. And the first one raped her. Then the second one.
Jane was in the other room. They were questioning her, asking her where the keys were for the safe and for the cars, which she repeatedly told them she didn't know. They kept on asking her, repeatedly asked her who she was going to vote for. She told them she didn't know any party. ZanuPF [Mr Mugabe's ruling party] they wouldn't believe and if she said MDC [The Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition grouping], it would go the wrong way. The main question was would she vote for MDC. Then they raped her as well. Two of them. I could hear.
Then they ransacked the house, taking all the electrical goods. They were loading up the Mazda truck. They found a bottle of Mukwa oil [furniture oil] in the kitchen, about two litres. They spread this all over the house in all the rooms. Then they tried to ignite it. It is not at all inflammable. They poured it over Sarah, she thought it was petrol. They tried to ignite it with matches, they failed, they tried to ignite it with a log from the fireplace but they failed with that. When they were questioning Jane, they held a pellet gun to her head, saying they would shoot her if she didn't speak. Then they moved me out of the bedroom and into my office area. They thought I was dead. I was barely conscious but I understood what was going on. They were speaking in Shona again. One said, 'Is he dead?' The other one said, 'No, he is faking'. They came and had a kick at me to see if I was alive. 'Are you sure he is not dead? said one. 'No, he is faking', the other said. One said, 'Shall I stab him to see if he's alive? The other said, 'Don't bother, he is definitely alive'. They were still pouring the mukwa oil around. They thought it was petrol. They loaded up the truck, then it went quiet. This all took at least an hour. We heard the cuckoo clock go at 10 o'clock. We heard it again at 10.30.
Sarah was first up. She managed to get her hands out of the braces they tied her with because they were elasticised. Then she called to me. At that stage I didn't answer. I wasn't sure if people were still there. Sarah ran through to Jane and untied her. Sarah thought I was probably dead, but she came back and found I was alive. She undid me. They really tied me up tight, I had no feeling in my hands and my feet. Once she had untied me she ran to the front where they had come in and locked the door. We gathered up our passports. They had cut the telephone and stolen four cellphones in the house. They had taken money out of the safe. They also took travellers cheques and some US dollars.
We discussed what we should do. We thought we should go and find the owner of the farm but we thought they might still be around. We didn't want them to see us again. We climbed over the fence at the bottom of the garden and we went through the farm in the dark. We crawled under the electric fence on the main road. We walked 5km to the international airport. I was barefoot because they had taken all our shoes, our clothes. We asked the information desk to let us phone a relative. They said the phone didn't phone out. We would have to speak to police. We were a bit apprehensive about speaking to the police. We thought it was politically motivated. We wanted moral support. We didn't want to do it ourselves.
They offered to take our details. We said we needed to use the phone to phone a relative. I said I needed to go to hospital. I was bleeding. He wanted me to fill out a report. He eventually persuaded us to take police medical report forms so that when we went to hospital we would have a report number for police. We told police it was an assault and rape case.
A bystander came to assist us. He managed to get his cellphone from his car. He said he was involved in the MDC when he saw us and heard we were from a farm. He wanted to offer us as much assistance as he could. Then we waited for a relative who collected us. He took us to the trauma centre but they said they didn't fill in medical report forms. We went to the Avenues Clinic because they would fill out a report. I was seen to first because I was more seriously injured. There was a lot of blood.
We needed a police rape kit (for internal forensic examination of evidence of rape). There were none to be had, except at Mbare police station, and they said they would deliver at 8am. The gynaecologist saw to my wife and Jane. We finished up at 4.30am and spent the night at a relatives' place.
We went back this morning at 8.30am for the rest of the check-up and the police report. They put Sarah and Jane on a triple anti-HIV cocktail, also tablets for anti-pregnancy and antibiotics. They will be on the cocktail for a month. The gynaecologist said he was pleased with their condition.
I have no idea who the attackers were. They looked about 30. They were not very well organised. They just had a brick and a knife between them.
Nothing will get done. I just don't have any faith in the police.
I had a break-in into a guest cottage the week before and reported it. The police never pitched. They took the Mazda pick-up. Also mainly electrical goods and money and so on. Sarah and Jane are coping pretty well, considering what they have been through. At least we are alive. From the questioning, I would probably say it was politically motivated.
I had stitches between my eyes, probably a broken nose. Minor cuts from the knife. Bruising all over from where they hit and kicked me.
Sarah and Jane have bruising where they were tied up, and around their throats where they were strangled. Sarah lost consciousness at the beginning.
There are no squatters on the farm but several thousand on the surrounding farms."