South Africa: Knife-Wielding Man In Loin Cloth Strikes Fear Into Hermanus Cyclists
A man, wearing only a loin cloth and wielding a knife, has cyclists scared in the Hemel en Aarde valley in Hermanus, South Africa. The ill-clad robber has reportedly attacked several people on a popular cycle trail.
It is believed by residents that the man could be mentally ill, or possibly performing some kind of ritual and his intention is to hurt the cyclists he targets in the area, more than just robbing them.
Residents in the area have been warned to look out for the man, who is reportedly wanted for other crimes, while police scour the bike trails in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, trying to track him down.
Knifeman strikes fear into cyclists https://t.co/sbH2BG1Z0z
— afrilocen (@afrilocen) April 2, 2016
A Whatsapp group has reportedly been created for anyone that spots the man to ensure the information can be spread quickly.
According to the News24, the crime spree began around three weeks ago when a man with a similar description allegedly broke into a car, and then attempted to enter a house on a local farm estate.
However, on Thursday of last week, two cyclists were attacked, and on Friday a further two cyclists were allegedly mugged by a man with the same description, who chased them through the valley.
Images of the man in his loin cloth and wielding his knife were captured by a cyclist’s helmet-mounted camera and have been shared, together with a warning, on the Hermanus Cycling Community Facebook page. One image appears to show him wearing a watch around his ankle and he can be seen clutching a long stick and a knife.
Police spokeswoman, Constable Noloyiso Rwexana has warned residents in the area to watch out for the man, saying recent cases of robbery and malicious damage to property are currently being investigated.
“We urge the community to be on the lookout for the suspect and contact the police when they see him.”
According to Paul du Toit of Hermanus Adventures – a company that maintains cycling trails in the area – the man has not been seen since the latest attacks, but, he said a team of people is going into the area to attempt to find him.
“We are concerned the man is not stable,” du Toit said.
According to a post on Facebook, one of the cyclists who was attacked said, “A few kids were confronted and attacked by a fully psycho person.”
“A few minutes later as I patrolled to find him two more cyclists were attacked; on trying to help them, I was also attacked, he had a long stick and a very long knife which he used with extreme aggression. Please avoid the trail until we know that he has been flushed out.”
Jacqui Jackson of the Hermanus Cycling Club said she had seen the man a day before the attacks while cycling on the trail. Jackson said she greeted the man, but he did not respond and did not appear to be wearing a loin cloth at that stage.
“He was standing with his back to me wearing black pants and shirt. He was on my right.”
According to Jackson, a while later a cyclist was almost attacked and a second cyclist was nearly robbed in the area.
“He rolled out barbed wire (which injured a cyclist) across a trail.”
As reported by the Independent Online, Jackson added that the man also knocked a woman off her bike, but didn’t manage to take anything from her, though he hit her on her right arm. Jackson added that it was the next day that several other attacks took place.
Why have the police not captured the perpetrator yet? https://t.co/xjI4mPFVVF
— Corneil du Plessis (@corneil) March 30, 2016
Another cyclist, Philip-Ben Kotze, said he had been cycling the same trail two days before the attacks occurred. Kotze referred to one of the photos shared on Facebook, showing a runner’s watch on the man’s ankle. He also noted the loin cloth the man was wearing appeared to have been torn from another piece of clothing.
“It’s almost like he’s stealing from people and then claiming and wearing the items he’s taken.”
Leon Prak, the owner of Hermanus Cycles, passed three young cyclists who had just been attacked while out riding with his son on Friday. According to Prak the cyclists had offered the man their watches and cell phones, but except for one watch, the robber had discarded the valuables.
Further down the trail, he reportedly went to the aid of two male cyclists that the same man was in the process of attacking. Prak said the man was swinging at them with a stick and knife, “going fairly nuts at it,” saying the man broke a bicycle frame and a helmet.
“He also left dents in my bike. Fortunately, no one was injured.”
The man eventually disappeared into the bushes, according to reports. Prak suspects the man is mentally ill, or that there is some kind of ritual involved, due to the loin cloth clad man’s crazy actions.
According to Prak, “He is not there to rob anyone. He is there to kill.”
[Image via Shutterstock]