S. African girl escapes after being held captive for 3.5 months

CHESTERVILLE, SOUTH AFRICA (BNO NEWS) -- A 15-year-old South African girl who was kidnapped and then repeatedly raped during a three-and-a-half month ordeal managed to escape on Monday, local police said. A suspect has been taken into custody and is facing charges.

The teenager, who is from the town of Madadeni in KwaZulu-Natal province, went missing at about 8 p.m. local time on March 29 after she was threatened with a knife and a firearm. She was taken to the town of Chesterville, nearly 250 kilometers (155 miles) southeast of Madadeni, where she was repeatedly drugged and raped for months.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said the victim was held captive for more than 3.5 months before her captor let his guard slip which allowed her to escape. He said a 25-year-old suspect, whose identity was not immediately released, was arrested on Monday and faces charges of kidnapping and rape.

"That such a horrendous crime was committed against a defenseless vulnerable child in this day and age is totally unacceptable and we condemn the evil deed in the harshest terms," KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said. "If convicted, we would like to see the court hand the accused the severest sentence possible. Such a nightmarish experience could leave the child scarred for life."

Mdunge said the victim has been left traumatized by the kidnapping and sexual abuse and is receiving trauma counseling, but further details about her condition and the case itself were not immediately released. The 25-year-old suspect is scheduled to appear in the Newcastle Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

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