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Police have traced out and arrested the rapist and murderer of a minor girl with the help of a DNA test report, Dera Ghazi Khan District Police Officer (DPO) Atif Nazir revealed at a press conference on Thursday.

On April 3, Mehreen, 8, had gone missing after leaving her house to buy a book from her village bookstore. Next day, her molested body was found from a field in the Gugoo area nearby. According to a medico-legal report, she was strangled to death after being raped.

The DPO said that a team comprising DSP Riaz Bokhari, Inspector Amar Yasir and Sub Inspector Ibrar had traced out and arrested the murderer with the help of "scientific methods" and technology.

Read more: Tackling child sexual abuse: Awareness, identification and prevention

He said that, during the course of investigation, DNA tests were performed on as many as 100 suspects and samples taken from the victim were examined for a match with them.

Subsequently, the DNA report matched with a suspect and police arrested a farmer, 37-year-old Bilal. The DPO said that the suspect, a father of two, has confessed to his crime.

Last year, a report released by the NGO Sahil had revealed that cases of child abuse increased by 32pc in the first six months of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017.

The report found that a total of 2,322 child abuse cases were reported by newspapers in all four provinces, as well as Islamabad, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In comparison, 1,764 such incidents were reported from January to June 2017.

More than 12 children were abused every day during the January to June period of this year, the data shows. In addition, 1,725 cases were reported from rural areas and 597 from urban areas.

Cases of sexual abuse of boys increased by 47pc, the report had said, while cases of sexual abuse of girls increased by 22pc compared to 2017.

Children between the ages of six and 15 are the most vulnerable to abuse, the report had said.