NEW DELHI (AFP) - Five villagers have confessed to gang-raping a Swiss tourist in central India, police said on Sunday, in an incident that has renewed focus on the rampant violence against women in the country.
The woman was on a cycling holiday with her husband in impoverished Madhya Pradesh state when six men attacked the couple on Friday night, sexually assaulting the woman and robbing the pair, police said.
"We have detained five men and they have confessed to gang-raping the woman and attacking her husband," local police official M.S. Dhodee said.
Police are searching for a sixth man, who was also involved in the crime, Dhodee said.
The alleged rapists live in a village near the forested area where the couple had stopped to camp for the night, while on a cycling trip to the popular tourist destination of Agra in northern India, Dhodee said.
"They were passing by, noticed the couple putting up their tent and saw an opportunity to attack and rape the woman," he said.
He added that the five detainees would be arrested shortly, pending formalities.
After the attack, the rape victim, aged about 40, underwent a medical examination at a local hospital before leaving for the Indian capital Delhi, police said.
"The victim and her husband have left for Delhi, since there was no need for her to stay in hospital here," another local police official U.C. Shadangi told AFP.
Shadangi said that police were in touch with Swiss embassy officials, who declined to comment to AFP about the case.
The Swiss foreign ministry in Bern released a statement on Saturday expressing deep shock at the "tragic incident".
The attack comes just three months after thousands took to the streets in nationwide protests following the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi in December.