Indian police hunt suspect in rape-murder of 8-year-old girl

BANGALORE (AFP) - Police in southern India were Friday searching for a man suspected of raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl, in the latest shocking sex attack in the country.

Superintendent B. Ramesh said they are hunting a man in his early 20s, captured on CCTV, who is thought to have bitten the child's genitalia before smothering her to death.

"Bite marks and injuries on her private parts (suggest) the victim was molested and raped before she was smothered to death by an unidentified youth aged (between) 22 and 25 years," Ramesh told AFP.

"We have formed eight search teams to trace the culprit."

CCTV footage released by police showed a man playing with the schoolgirl before leading her into a deserted car shed on the outskirts of Bangalore, the state capital of Karnataka.

Later he is seen emerging from the shed without the girl and walking away.

Police found the mutilated body of the victim late Thursday after her parents, who were working at a local brick factory at the time of the attack, reported her missing.

"We are analysing CCTV footage to identify the suspect. The footage is blurred as the area around the shed... was in shadows," Ramesh said.

India's NDTV network said residents of the area were in shock following the latest incident.

"How can we let our children out to play for even a few minutes?" a local told the news channel.

Bangalore hit headlines last July after a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped in a school, triggering street protests by angry parents and political activists over poor safety standards for women and children.

In 2012, the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi led to a public outcry and tougher laws to deter rapists.

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