File photo of gendarme

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image captionA file photo of a gendarme – gendarmes were deployed in the search for the suspects in this case

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the kidnap and rape of a nine-year-old girl in rural France.

Police said the men were driving a stolen car when they were arrested in Saumur village on Monday evening.

One of the men is suspected of raping both the child and a 73-year-old woman, local media report. DNA tests are now being carried out by local police.

The child was abducted by a man in a Citroën car while she was walking to buy bread in Villiers on Sunday.

According to local media, the abduction triggered a major search with both gendarmes and local police officers from nearby Poitiers being deployed, along with a search helicopter.

The girl was found shortly after she went missing and was taken to Poitiers University Hospital, where she is still being cared for.

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The other rape, of the 73-year-old woman, was allegedly committed on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, the mayor of Villiers earlier suggested the suspect was “a man [from] outside” the village.

However, officials have not released any information about the suspects.

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