A 49-YEAR-OLD self-styled traditional healer from Gwelutshena in Matabeleland North province has been arrested for allegedly raping an eight-year-old girl after claiming he wanted to exorcise her tormented body.

Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda confirmed the incident yesterday.

“Police have arrested the traditional healer (name withheld to protect the victim) who raped a child after telling her that her body needed cleansing.

“Circumstances are that on February 26 the eight-year-old girl’s grandmother (65) had gone to the fields in the morning, leaving the child at their homestead in the company of her eight-year-old brother,” Banda said.

“Immediately thereafter, the suspect arrived and found the child who was playing outside and told her that she was possessed by evil spirits and he wanted to cleanse her body. After telling her to remove her clothes he fondled her private parts with a jelly like substance, and then made her to consume a herbal concoction. The girl became unconscious and the suspect raped her.”

Banda said a report was made at Gwelutshena Police Station, leading to accused’s arrest.

“As police, we urge citizens to report cases of juvenile rape and allow justice to prevail. Parents and guardians should not marry off the girl child under the age of 18 years, under the name of  cultural practice,” Banda said.

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