08/05/2012 07:42 BST | Updated 08/05/2012 07:43 BST

Zimbabwe 'Sperm Hunters' Acquitted Of Raping 17 Men

A trio of Zimbabwean women who were accused of raping male hitch-hikers in order to harvest their sperm have been cleared.

According to local media reports, a handful of hitch-hikers claimed they had been drugged, threatened with knives and even live snakes before they were forced into sex and then dumped by the roadside. The sperm was apparently being collected for use in “ju-ju” rituals.

The women, sisters Sophie Nhokwara (26), Netsai Nhokwara (24) and Rosemary Chakwizira (28), were exonerated by DNA evidence, AFP reported.

Their lawyer Dumisani Mthombeni said: “The state has withdrawn the charges. The police arrested the wrong people.”

In November, the sisters and one of their boyfriends were charged with attacking male hitchhikers and harvesting their sperm for rituals, Today Online reported.

The Nhokwara sisters were arrested after they were involved in a car accident and police found 30 used condoms in their car boot.


Zimbabwe 'Sperm Hunters' Prowl Highways Looking For Hitchhikers

They faced 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault in a country where a woman raping a man is not considered a criminal offence.

The trio apparently told a Harare court they are merely hard-working prostitutes.

Mthombeni said the state was prosecuting Netsai Nhokwara and Rosemary Chakwizira on lesser charges of “loitering for the purposes of prostitution.”

He added that his clients were planning to sue the police for their “unlawful” arrests and for parading them on national TV as “female rapists”.

In March, one female motorist told AFP how she had recently pulled over to pick up a group of male hitchhikers who refused to get into her car for fear of being raped.

Susan Dhliwayo, 19, said: “Now men fear women. They said: ‘We can’t go with you because we don’t trust you’.”

National police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told Zimbabwe Times Live there was not yet an exact number of confirmed cases, but warned male travellers to be vigilant.

Pictures Of The Day: 8 May 2012