Miners suspected of kidnapping and making woman sex slave

By Drum Digital
19 March 2012

Free State police have found the body of a woman believed to have been kidnapped in Welkom by illegal miners and kept underground as a sex slave.

Captain Stephen Thakeng said relatives identified the body as that of Rethabile Motsheremeli, 28, from Teya Teyaneng in Lesotho.

She was still wearing a T-shirt she had on the day of her disappearance.

Police formed a task team last week after Motsheremeli's sister urged the police and Lesotho government officials to help search for her sister, who disappeared on March 10.

She alleged that women were being used as sex slaves underground in Welkom by zama-zamas, which is slang for illegal miners in the mining industry.

Four women apparently visited their boyfriends at Welkom's number one mine on the Saturday night. They were apparently kidnapped by a group of Basotho working as illegal miners.

Thakeng said three of the women escaped, but a 28-year-old woman was caught again and forced to a nearby field.

On Sunday, men hunting hares near Jabulani village, next to the Welkom graveyard, discovered her decomposing body in a water ditch.

Police were alerted and took the body to the Welkom mortuary. Two illegal miners were detained for questioning on Sunday.

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