British tourists in gang rape

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GUNMEN ambushed a group of young British tourists in South Africa, beat and robbed them and raped two women in the party, it emerged yesterday. The victims spent a night wandering naked on a remote road in the Eastern Cape until they were taken in and given clothes by local villagers on Friday morning.

The victims - two women and a man in their early 20s, travelling by car with a woman friend believed to be a New Zealander - have not been named because rape is involved.

They were near Port St Johns, travelling to Durban, when the gunmen chased them in a pickup and opened fire, forcing them to crash. They were dragged from the car and taken into a forest and the man was stripped and beaten.

The attackers then raped two of the girls while the other managed to persuade the gang to leave her alone. After snatching cash worth pounds 4,800, cameras, watches and jewellery, the gang escaped, taking the hire car with them.

One of the victims said last night: "You can have no idea of what it was like for us . . . It was terrible. After they'd gone we didn't know where we were. The country was completely strange to us but we walked, naked, until we reached a village and the people there helped us."

Police helicopters yesterday combed the area for the gang.

The Foreign Office said last night the victims had been offered counselling and their flight home was being arranged through the consul in Durban.