Dozens of men have been arrested after models filming a music video in South Africa were subjected to gang rape.
The suspects, who are believed to be illegal gold miners, are accused of targeting their victims while they were shooting near the town of Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.
Armed attackers robbed the crew, made up of 12 women and 10 men, before a frenzy of sexual assault began, police said.
Officers have arrested more than eighty men, reportedly members of ‘zama-zama’ gangs who operated in closed mine shafts and have been blamed locally for a spate of crimes.
Lieutenant general Elias Mawela, police commissioner for Gauteng province, said: ‘The crew of 22 people…were busy filming a music video when they were allegedly attacked by a group of armed men clad in blankets.
‘The suspects ordered everyone to lay down and proceeded to rape eight of the women and robbed everyone of their belongings before fleeing the scene.’
One victim, who was involved in organising the production, told the South African Sunday Times: ‘I was blaming myself, thinking that if it hadn’t been for me, these girls wouldn’t be there.
‘I felt responsible and I wanted to take all the pain so that they wouldn’t touch the girls.
‘I was blaming myself, thinking that if it hadn’t been for me, these girls wouldn’t be there
‘The first person who was raped was me. The first time, they took me to the bush and the second time, they took me to a hole where no one could see us.
‘They kept telling the younger boys to rape us and they’d hit them and force them to do so.
‘The young boys would then take us, one by one, to the bushes. The last time they raped me was in front of the other group.’
A 19-year-old victim lied and said she had recently hand said a miscarriage in order to avoid attack, the outlet reported.
South Africa’s national police minister said DNA techniques would be used to secure prosecutions against the accused.
More than 300 people demonstrated outside Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court on Monday to express the community’s fury over the rapes.
The case has also stoked up anger against illegal migrants, some of whom reportedly come to the area to exploit South Africa’s closed mines.
Zandile Dabula, secretary-general of Operation Dudula, an organisation that protests against illegal immigration in South Africa, was among those adding their voice to the chorus of anger.
She said: ‘We are going to demand that the police station should be placed under administration because the community has reported many crimes committed by the zama-zamas but nothing has been done.’