LITHOTENG — Villagers in Lithoteng will on Sunday hold a joint prayer session to seek divine intervention over a spate of crimes they say have hit their village hard over the past six months.
In the past six months, several girls and women have been raped in the area.
In others cases, people have been attacked while coming from work in the early morning hours.
The residents blame their ills on the village bars that are open all night long.
Just last week a 26-year-old woman from the village was allegedly raped by a man who had disguised himself as a pastor.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said the suspect told the victim that he was a pastor and had come to pray for her.
“The suspect claimed to be a pastor of some church situated in Khubetsoana. He said he had come to pray for the victim,” Masupha said.
“While the victim was still shocked by what the man had just said the suspect asked for water.”
He said when the victim went into the house to get the water the suspect pounced.
Masupha said the woman told the police that the suspect threatened to stab her to death if she screamed for help.
“He then raped her once before fleeing.”
Police are still investigating but they are yet to make an arrest.
On Saturday, a 15-year-old girl from the same village was allegedly raped in Lithoteng.
The girl was attacked near a public phone container near the Lithoteng main road.
The victim told the police that she knew the suspect and where he stayed.
Lithoteng chief, Samuel Soro, said these were some of the cases he had to deal with every day and he was worried the situation could get out of hand if something is not done.
Chief Soro said he believed most of the crimes were committed by people under the influence of alcohol.
Young girls, he said, were being targeted when they went to bars.
The chief said bar owners in the village were contributing to the problem because they open their establishments all night.
The bars sell alcohol to under-age youngsters, he claimed.
“These bars are causing us problems. Some of them sell home-brewed beer. When people are drunk they engage in these criminal offences,” Chief Soro said.
“We are going to have a joint prayer session on Sunday. Rape and other criminal offences occur every week in this village.”
Most of the rape cases go unreported, the chief said.
“There are only a few reported cases on sexual offences but there are more that occur and are not reported.
“When people are coming back from work at night they are attacked by these people who spend most of their time in bars drinking.
“When we try to talk to the business people about the impact of their bars to our community they say they have no choice but to open until the next morning because their patrons are at work during the day.”
One villager who did not want to be identified said crime in the village could be significantly reduced if the bars close early.
“Bar owners in this village are careless. They don’t care about the age restrictions on liquor. Children aged 15 and 16 go to the bars and drink for the whole night,” the villager said.
“Last Sunday our neighbour’s son was stabbed at one of the bars in this village.”
People have been stabbed and killed in the bars, she said.
“We just hope the joint prayer meeting on Sunday will help us find a solution.”