POLICE in the Midlands province have flagged increasing rape cases since the beginning of this year, with four minors having been raped in two days.
On Friday last week, provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said six rape case cases, with four of them involving minors, were recorded January 4 and 5.
Most of the perpetrators were identified as either relatives or neighbours.
“Observations indicate that these rape cases occur during any time of the day in both urban and rural areas,” Mahoko said.
“They are committed by men usually trusted by the victims. The men take advantage and rape vulnerable women and young children.”
According to police, a nine-year-old girl was raped by her uncle in the Gokwe-Chireya after she was left in his custody.
In Sogwala, police have since launched a manhunt for Max Tshuma of Hwata village, under Chief Sogwala after he also allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl.
In Lower Gweru, police are looking for William Chitawa (40) of Gabuza village, Chief Bunina who allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl who was left in his custody.
Mahoko added that Maxen Dube (68) of Ruby farming area in Somabhula, Gweru, is still at large after he allegedly raped his 39-year old sister-in-law while she was bathing.
Meanwhile, police arrested Proud Maposa (35) in Chicago suburb, Kwekwe, who allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl he had offered accommodation during the night after he had promised to secure employment for her as a maid.
In Mberengwa, Misent Moto (36) of Magomana Village under Chief Mahlabadza was arrested after he allegedly raped his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend while she was herding cattle.
Mahoko said some of the sexual abuses perpetrated against women and minor girls were influenced by traditional and religious beliefs.
He urged parents and guardians not to leave their children with people they do not trust.