Ex-prostitutes sing and dance to religious songs in Muhanga district
Ex-prostitutes sing and dance to religious songs in Muhanga district (Reuters) Reuters

Rwanda is waking up to the gory story of an African version of Jack the Ripper, who has brutally killed at least 15 prostitutes in the last month.

Sex workers in the Rwandan capital Kigali are afraid of going outside after the ghoulish discovery of mutilated bodies, some with eyes "gouged out".

Rwandan police said they have arrested at least two people in connection with the murder, and that the investigation is ongoing.

"At first we thought they were isolated acts [...] one of the first murders appeared to be linked to a financial dispute," said police spokesman Theo Badege.

"But we quickly realised it could be something else."

Badege recognised there was a "trend", but refused to make direct links between the murders.

It is believed the killer also operates in broad daylight as three women, including two prostitutes, were found strangled at midday in a working class part of the capital.

"We are terrified over what is has been happening. We ask the authorities to help us and find a solution to this problem, because sex workers are dying every day," Grace, not her real name, told Reuters.

"We have found mutilated bodies of sex workers who were killed, where some of them have had their eyes gauged out. Yesterday, we buried two of our friends," added another one.

Prostitution is illegal in Rwanda, however due to immense poverty in the country many women have been forced into it.

It is estimated that 25 percent of sex workers in Rwanda are HIV-positive.