A man arrested on suspicion of raping and murdering two toddlers in a Johannesburg slum has confessed, South African prosecutors said Monday after the case sparked violent riots last week.

The man, in his late 20s, appeared in court briefly Monday on two counts each of murder, kidnapping and rape, said prosecutions spokesman Medupe Simasiku.

"He has confessed," Simasiku said.

The man was arrested on Friday after the two cousins' bodies were discovered in a communal toilet cubicle earlier in the week in Diepsloot shantytown northwest of Johannesburg.

The girls, two and three years old, were raped and strangled.

Residents of Diepsloot went on a rampage twice after the gruesome murders, blocking roads with burning tyres and pelting police with rocks.

The man was arrested after four suspected accomplices were detained earlier. They have not confessed.

All five will appear in court together on Thursday.

South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world. About 16,000 people are killed a year, according to official statistics.

More than half the 54,000 crimes against children reported in the period from 2010 to 2011 were sexual offences, according to UN children's organisation Unicef.

 

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