AN 11-year-old girl from Bulawayo's Nkulumane suburb was kidnapped by her married neighbour who allegedly gang raped her with two of his friends before dumping her in the Belmont Industrial area, a court heard yesterday.

The gang allegedly covered her mouth and nose with a cloth laced with an unknown substance until she lost consciousness before kidnapping and raping her several times. They dumped her after the ordeal.

The girl regained consciousness to see strangers passing by, unconcerned about her welfare, near Kango Industries.
Nhlakanipho Sibanda, 23, appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Tancy Dube facing charges of kidnapping and rape. He was not asked to plead and was granted $250 bail.

Sibanda, who was represented by Priviledge Mvundla of D W Mhiribidi and company, was remanded to September 24.

Police have launched a manhunt for his two friends who are still on the run.

Prosecuting, Mufaro Mageza said Sibanda and his friends kidnapped the minor and had sexual intercourse with her.
"Sibanda and his accomplices who are still on the run had sexual intercourse with a minor girl who at law cannot consent to sexual acts," he said.

The court heard that on September 4 near Nkulumane's Vusisizwe Gardens, the girl was riding her bicycle when Sibanda held the bicycle by the seat and covered her face with a cloth and she blacked out.

The girl woke up and felt three people having sexual intercourse with her and fondling her breasts. That is when she realised she was being gang raped and lapsed back into unconsciousness, the court heard. The girl later woke up the following day and found herself amongst strangers at Kango.

The matter was reported to the police leading to Sibanda's arrest.
Magistrate Dube granted Sibanda bail on condition that he does not interfere with state witnesses and should move from his home which is near the girl's.

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