Three Zimbabwean women have been accused of sex attacks on male hitchhikers, allegedly to steal their semen for use in ritual practices, in a case that has gripped the public imagination and the media. The gang appeared to face charges of 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault in court today, reports the Guardian.
Sisters Sophie and Netsai Nhokwara and Rosemary Chakwizira, who were arrested by Zimbabwean police on Friday, were found with 33 condoms containing semen.
Police believe the arrest is a break in a string of sex attacks over the past two years by women targeting male hitchhikers.
Reports in Zimbabwe have described the alarming trend of male hitchhikers being offered lifts, but then being drugged and driven to secluded spots by female attackers.
The Daily Times writes that according to a police official in Harare, 17 men have positively identified the women as having raped them. "Most of the men said the women would offer a drink either laced with something to tranquilize them or were forced at gunpoint."
A professor at sociology at the University of Zimbabwe explained the odd circumstances.
According to CNN:
"Some sections of the society use these sperm for ritual purposes. The thinking is that it can be used for regeneration of life since they are source of life (biologically). Some people thinks that they can have their bad luck gone by sin semen. I am sure that explains all this we have been witnessing (men being forced," said Watch Ruparanganda.
The New York Times has a map of the attacks' locations.