An apparently heartless 29-year-old man was on Sunday picked up by police in Norton amid allegations that he raped his step daughter, aged just nine.

Police authorities have confirmed that the man, whose name is withheld for purposes of protecting the identity of the sexually abused minor, was arrested at his homestead in the Maridale after medical reports indicated that the 9-year old had, indeed, been raped.

“The suspect is alleged to have left the victim’s mother and sneaked out of the bedroom, and went to the little girl’s room. He raped the minor twice before warning her against telling her mother,” said national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.

According to Ass Comm Nyathi, on the next day, the mother of the minor checked on her daughter after she reportedly took long to wake up. Sensing that there could be something wrong with her child, she quizzed her daughter who revealed the incident.

A police report was subsequently made, leading to the arrest of the accused.

The incident comes as the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has raised concern over a marked spike in rape cases with parents labelled scapegoats in certain incidences for concealing rape cases involving relatives.

In a separate incident, an 8-year-old girl from Chitungwiza who had gone for extra lessons, was raped by her 19-year-old uncle while returning home, Ass Comm Nyathi told the state media.

He said the paedophilic uncle took advantage of the fact that the mother (32), was still at work.

The minor narrated the ordeal to her mother who, instead, chose to conceal the incident and warned the child against telling other people about the incident.

To ensure that the secret was well kept, the mother then sent the victim’s brother to the rurals, Ass Comm Nyathi revealed.

“Few days later after noticing withdrawal symptoms by the child, the teacher questioned her till she opened up and revealed the matter. The teacher reported the matter to the police and it was discovered that the mother knew about the abuse but had chosen to conceal it in order to protect her brother,” he said.

The accused rapist is still at large.