POLICE in Butterworth are hunting for a man who allegedly abducted his pre-teen niece and used her as a sex slave in a nearby forest.
Police said the girl of 12 was abducted on Thursday morning while she was on her way to school, allegedly by her uncle.
The girl from Lower Mission in Mzantsi Location was found on Monday night by a villager with her attacker, who then fled.
A forensic nurse at the Butterworth Hospital and a senior social worker attended to the young girl, who could barely walk yesterday.
Police spokesman Captain Jackson Manatha confirmed that the girl had been raped.
Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday the Grade 7 child said her uncle had forced her into a nearby forest and repeatedly raped her.
She said they had spent four nights sleeping in the forest, which is half a kilometre from the village, and he fed her rotten food picked up at a nearby dumpsite.
“Every time I refused to eat he slapped me on the face and told me to swallow because he wanted me alive,” she said.
On the first night she said her uncle left her alone in the forest when he went to fetch a blanket at their home. The two live together in a family of six in the village.
“I was left stranded alone in the dark and I could not run because I did not know where I was. I waited for him to return and when he did he started raping me,” she said.
“I asked my uncle why he was doing this and he told me that it is because my grandmother [ his mother] was denying him food to eat at home.
“He raped me on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. He did not force himself on me on Saturday.”
The young girl was visibly drowsy yesterday and said she hadn’t slept since Thursday.
On Sunday villagers searching for the missing girl and the 38-year-old suspect took desperate measures when they set part of the forest alight in an attempt to flush the man out.
The victim said she tried screaming but her uncle had told her she could scream as loudly as she wanted because no one would hear her or come to her aid.
“On Monday afternoon he kept on telling me that he was hungry and he said I must come with him to go steal food inside the village,” said the young girl.
She said the two left the forest on Monday night.
“When we entered the village I saw a man walking alone on the street and I ran towards him and I asked him to take me to my grandmother,” she said.
The man, Lisa Tsipa, is the son of the village headman. He had been part of a 80-person search party assisting the police hunt on Sunday.
“I grabbed the girl and told her uncle that the whole village was looking for her,” said Tsipa.
“The uncle ran and I took the girl to her grandmother. Everyone in the family was crying tears of joy. I could have wasted time arresting her uncle but my first priority was the safe return of the girl. ”
The girl’s name and that of her grandmother are not being mentioned to protect her identity as she is a victim of rape. — firstname.lastname@example.org