By Vincent Gono
Seven Nsezi primary schoolchildren in Umzingwane District were reportedly sodomised by a 16-year-old school dropout who would give them old bearer cheques to silence them amid revelations that police are yet to take decisive action against the boy.
The seven, aged between nine and 12 years, were also allegedly threatened never to tell their parents or risk being beaten up. Irate parents, however, said police at Sibomvu base dismissed the case, arguing that the perpetrator’s manhood had no sores that suggested he might have infected the victims with a sexually transmitted disease.
They said they were angry with the police whom they accuse of failing to treat the case with the weight it deserves. Matabeleland South provincial education director Ms Tumisang Thabela confirmed receiving a report of sexual abuse of the minors at Nsezi Primary School from the district education office in Esigodini.
“Yes, I received a report. The child protection committee confirmed that they are looking into a case of sexual abuse involving some minors at the school. The case has been sent to the police’s victim-friendly unit who are carrying out their investigations and we are still waiting for the report of their findings on the case,” said Ms Thabela.
Police spokesman for Matabeleland South Inspector Tafanana Dzirutwe could not comment on the issue, saying his office did not receive a formal report of that nature.
“It seems there was no formal report made to the police, as a result it’s difficult for me to follow up the story. However, if the parents are saying the case was not handled to their satisfaction by police at the base, they were supposed to take it further to police in Esigodini for further redress. As it is we only have the community’s side of the story which puts me in a very difficult position to give an informed comment,” he said
In separate interviews, the parents of the victims expressed shock at the behaviour of the 16-year-old, adding that there was need to get the victims examined by a medical practitioner to determine whether they contracted diseases. The parents said the case only came to light after they queried why the children were always late from school.
They said the perpetrator (name supplied), a school dropout, would waylay the schoolchildren before force-marching them into the bush where he would sodomise them. He would give them old Zimbabwe dollar bearer cheques as payment for “services” rendered and would threaten to harm them if they reported the abuse to their parents.
“My Grade Five child came home from school at around 8pm just when we were retiring to bed I asked him why he was so late from school and he started crying. He later revealed that he was taken hostage by the perpetrator and I then confronted his guardian. By that time, more cases were coming as nine more children reported that they had also been abused by the same boy,” said one of the victims’ parents, who could not be named to protect the identity of the child.
She added that the concerned parents and the school authorities approached the police who detained the perpetrator overnight before releasing him the following day on the grounds that he was a juvenile who could not be taken to court.
“We are not happy with the way the police at Sibomvu treated the case. They denied us letters so that our children could go for medical examinations and we are worried about their health. Police told us that the perpetrator’s manhood had no sores and therefore he did not have any sexually transmitted diseases. The only way to prove that our kids were not infected is to go for blood tests,” she added.
The guardian of the perpetrator confirmed the story, saying the boy told her that he was only playing with the young boys. “He told us that he was just playing with them. Some of the boys confirmed that they were not forced to remove their shorts but some said he forced them to remove their shorts and pants,” she said.-The Sunday Mail