Four arrested for attack on hikers in Table Mountain National Park

(Hanlie Gouws, News24)
(Hanlie Gouws, News24)

Four people were arrested for an attack on a group of hikers in the Newlands Ravine in Cape Town on Thursday morning, Western Cape police confirmed.

Captain FC van Wyk said the men, aged 20 to 27, were found with the hikers' clothes and takkies.

They were also found with a silver flick knife, carbreaking implements and a large self-made allen key.

Officers were still looking for a fifth suspect, who ran away on foot in the direction of a residential area.

The man had the hikers' cellphones and cash in his possession.

"The victims identified their belongings and pointed out the suspects to the police and belongings of the victims were handed back to them."

Three of the four hikers, aged between 31 and 58, were stabbed, said van Wyk.

The 58-year-old was later taken to hospital.

Table Mountain National Park spokesperson Saskia Marlowe confirmed "an incident" had occurred in the park, but did not provide further details because statements were still being taken.

"SANParks, with SAPS (The SA Police Service) and Metro [police] held a joint operation and four suspects were arrested," she said.

A hotspot for attacks

Table Mountain Watch (TMW) spokesperson André van Schalkwyk said the Newlands Ravine had become a hotspot for attacks and added that it was the fifth incident in that area since early September.

"They were [active] in the late afternoon and now suddenly we have an earlier, morning scenario. We have been looking for two men [who] have been responsible [for the other attacks]," Van Schalkwyk said.

In these incidents, people were robbed of valuable items after being threatened at knifepoint.

"We want people to be very cautious in that area... We are asking people not to retaliate. In most cases where people have been hurt, they retaliated in some form or another," he said.

Mountain users were warned not to go into remote areas alone.

"If you are hiking or running on your own, you need to consider how far away from help you want to be, assuming you can still phone and are not severely injured, and where waiting an hour is actually critical," said Van Schalkwyk.

He added that they have been working with authorities behind the scenes to get an integrated plan together. The details are expected to be revealed at a later stage.

Cape Town Central Community Policing Forum chairperson Marc Truss said that one of the challenges they faced was that not all incidents were reported to police.

Van Wyk said the suspects would remain in custody until their first court appearance. Police would oppose bail.

People in need of help can contact City Emergency Services on 021 480 7700 or Mountain Rescue on 021 937 0300.

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