Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Police in Zimbabwe on Friday charged three women found in possession of 33 condoms containing semen with 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault in a case that may be a break in a string of sex attacks over the past two years by women targeting male hitchhikers.
Prosecutor Michael Reza told a court in Harare that the counts were for each of the 17 men who had positively identified the women as having sexually assaulted them in 2010 or 2011.
The women, all of them in their mid-20s, were arrested Sunday in Gweru, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Harare, when their car was involved in an accident. Police found the condoms in the women's car. Police appealed to any other victims to inform police.
The three were taken Wednesday by police to Harare.
"Since Monday, 17 men came and positively identified the women as having raped them," said a police official in Harare who refused to be identified. "Most of the men said the women would offer a drink either laced with something to tranquilize them or were forced at gunpoint."
Watch Ruparanganda, a professor of sociology at the University of Zimbabwe said : "Some sections of the society use these sperm for ritual purposes. The thinking is that it can be used for regeneration of life since they are source of life (biologically). Some people think that they can have their bad luck gone by using semen. I am sure that explains all this we have been witnessing (men being forced)."
The prosecution identified the suspects as Rosemary Chakwizira, 24, Sophie Nhokwara, 26, and her sister, Netsai Nhokwara, 24.
They were to be held in custody until their next appearance, set for October 28, when more charges may be filed.
"We might have had more victims come identify these women," said the police source.