More than 80 men suspected in the gang rape of eight women and the armed robbery of a video production crew in a South African town appeared in court on Monday.
The men were arrested at an abandoned mining site following rape and robbery near the disused mine.
The suspects are allegedly illegal miners known as zama-zamas who dig for gold in closed mine shafts in the Johannesburg area. Many of the illegal miners are foreigners, according to local reports. Zama-zama gangs are also blamed for widespread crime in the area, according to local residents.
The gang rapes occurred in the South African town of Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, when a crew filming a music video in one of the abandoned mines was attacked by armed men on Thursday last week, according to police.
“The team of 22 people, 12 women and 10 men, was busy filming a music video when they were allegedly attacked by a group of armed men wearing blankets,” Gauteng Province Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela said in a statement. a statement.
“The suspects ordered everyone to lie down and proceeded to rape eight of the women and robbed all of their belongings before fleeing the scene,” he added. Those affected had all their video equipment removed. Police are investigating 32 rape charges, Mawela said.
Laboratory studies of the DNA samples of the raped women will be used to identify the perpetrators, National Police Minister Bheki Cele updated Monday.
Others arrested are expected to face additional illegal immigration and mining charges.
More than 300 people protested outside the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Monday to show the community’s anger at the violations.