Zimbabwe's First Lady Accused of Assaulting 20-Year-Old

Gabriella Engels claims Grace Mugabe beat her with an extension cord
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2017 7:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – The wife of Zimbabwe's president handed herself over to police in South Africa on Tuesday after being accused of assaulting a young woman Sunday night at an upscale Johannesburg hotel, South Africa's police minister said. Grace Mugabe was due to appear in court Tuesday afternoon, local news outlet eNCA reported. The 52-year-old is "not under arrest because she cooperated and handed herself over," Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula said in a video posted on eNCA. Gabriella Engels, 20, has accused Mugabe of assaulting her while she was visiting Mugabe's sons in a hotel room. She claims the first lady's bodyguards stood by and watched as Mugabe attacked her.

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Engels posted several photos on social media showing a gash in her forehead, which she calls a result of the alleged encounter, reports the AP. Engels told News24 she had no idea who Mugabe was when she walked into the room "with an extension cord and just started beating me with it. ... She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug." Engels claims the first lady accused her of living with her sons. "The investigation into this case has already reached an advanced stage," a police statement on Tuesday said. The BBC reports Mugabe was in the country to receive treatment for an ankle injury; she reportedly injured it in July when the presidential limo began to drive away as she was climbing in. (Read more Zimbabwe stories.)

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