A CYCLIST who is riding across Africa for charity has been attacked by a machete-wielding gang.

Peter Gostelow, 31, from Godmanstone, near Dorchester, was walking along a street in Dakar in Senegal when five men jumped him and slashed at his hand and leg to steal his bag and camera.

Mr Gostelow – who embarked on his trip last August to raise money for the Against Malaria Foundation – said he made the mistake of trying to resist his attackers.

He said: “When I turned round the five bodies had surrounded me.

“They were all young and two were wielding large machetes.

“The blades looked old and rusted.

“There were shouts as hands began to tug at my bags.”

Mr Gostelow said he had his small black day-sack on his back and a single lens reflex camera in a bag across his shoulder.

As they tugged at the bags he fell back on to the road.

“I watched car headlights approaching and wished they would come quicker,” he added. “When they did the horns sounded and the vehicles swerved around me.

“I thought the vehicles would stop and deter the five but at first none did.

“It was when the machetes started slashing in front of my face and one connected with my wrist that I let go of my bags.”

Mr Gostelow’s wallet was also grabbed from his trouser pocket before the attackers fled.

When he looked down he saw a deep gash on his arm and a pool of blood under his wounded foot.

He said after another 30 seconds a French woman opened her car door and yelled for him to get in.

She told him she had seen everything and drove him to a hospital where he started to feel dizzy and was taken to an operating room.

Mr Gostelow later phoned his mother Penny in Godmanstone to tell her what happened.

Mrs Gostelow, 61, said “He was quite down and very worried about his arm and whether he would be able to use it.”

She added: “It was a nasty attack.

“The machete cut through the tendons on the back of his hand.

“The doctor has now told him the tendons on three fingers were partially severed and sewn back together in the operation.”

Mr Gostelow is on crutches and able to wiggle his fingers ahead of what is expected to be a full recovery.

He considered quitting but is vowing to get back in the saddle and carry on his ride.

He is staying with an American couple he met at the International School in Dakar where he had given a speech about his ride and the charity he is riding for. Mrs Gostelow is going to visit her son in Gambia as he faces a two-month lay-off.