The mother of the four-year-old reportedly learned of the incident from her nephew as she was braiding a customer’s hair.

Four boys aged 10 to 13 have been arrested on suspicion of raping a four-year-old girl in South Africa.

The boys are currently being held at a youth detention centre and are expected to appear in court soon after the alleged rape in Muldersdrift, near Johannesburg, Eyewitness News reports.

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The attack is said to have taken place on one of the country’s informal settlements, which are home to large parts of the poorest communities.

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The mother of the four-year-old reportedly learned of the incident from her nephew as she was braiding a customer’s hair.

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Police spokesperson Mavela Masondo said: ‘The boys, together with their guardians, as well as the mother and the victim, were taken to the police station and a rape case was opened for further investigation.’

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The case comes less than a week after a man, 24, was arrested for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl in Khutsong, on Thursday.

Masondo said that the man broke into the child’s house and kidnapped her after her mother left her unattended alongside her sibling, 11.

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The suspect was later found and a child negligence investigation may be opened for the mother of the victim.

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The UN has said violence against women in South Africa is ‘pervasive’, despite its attempts at legal reform.

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