While no arrests have been made, neighbourhood watch members believe they have stumbled on a lair on Devil’s Peak allegedly belonging to the “satanists” who desecrated the Mowbray Muslim Cemetery last week.
Acting on a tip-off, U-Watch (Walmer Estate, University Estate and Woodstock neighbourhood watch) and police headed to the Ranger’s Station on Devil’s Peak on Friday night, after they were informed someone had been seen carrying heavy items up the slopes of the mountain.
Deep in the bushes, about 400 metres past the Ranger’s Station, the team found a rough shelter made of cloth and tree branches.
Inside the structure, which was surrounded by a yellow picket fence, they found burial cloth, flowers in hessian bags and vases, believed to have been stolen from the cemetery.
SCENE: The ‘grave robbers’ have set up lair on Devil’s Peak. Picture: U-Watch
Just two days earlier, the graveyard had been desecrated, gravestones ripped out of the ground and arranged in an upside cross, in what was thought to be the work of satanist vandals.
U-Watch member, Cedric Thomas, confirmed he went up the mountain and was shocked by what they found.
“It’s all very sinister and a lot has yet to be figured out,” he says.
“The shelter was made deep in the mountains and we came across so many snakes up there before we even got to it. It was a couple of hundred metres past the Ranger’s Station at Devil’s Peak. Whoever did this was using the stolen items to set up a home. It is a very sensitive issue and the community is now involved and we are working with the police to track the criminals.”
The Daily Voice spoke to a homeless man under the Nelson Mandela Boulevard flyover, who said he witnessed a man crossing the road “a few times” last Tuesday evening to get to the mountain.
“He was tall and dark-skinned and was wearing a black and white jacket,” he said.
“I thought it was someone just collecting stuff for a new structure, but when I heard about the robbery at the cemetery, I thought that was him. I told the people I work for and they told police.”
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut, said the matter was being investigated and no one has been arrested as yet.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Judicial Council has called the desecration an act of Islamophobia.
Sheikh Riad Fataar says the MJC has requested that the University of Cape Town’s Religious Department assist in “unpacking the symbols”, in order to understand who the vandals might be.
“The desecration of these headstones, and the deliberate targeting of Muslim graves, indicate a clear and direct provocation of the Muslim community,” he said.
“This was an act of religious intolerance.”
– Daily Voice