Suspect arrested after murder of two tourists in Morocco

Suspect arrested after murder of two tourists in Morocco
2 min read
18 December, 2018
The bodies of a Dane and a Norwegian were found on Monday with cuts to their necks, the interior ministry said.
The bodies were discovered in an isolated mountainous area in Morocco [Getty]

Moroccan authorities on Tuesday arrested a suspect following the murder of two Scandinavian tourists in the High Atlas mountains, the interior ministry said.

Other suspects are being sought over the deaths of the two women - a Dane and a Norwegian - whose bodies were found on Monday with cuts to their necks, the ministry said.

The bodies were discovered in an isolated mountainous area 10 kilometres (six miles) from the tourist village of Imlil in the High Atlas range.

Imlil is a starting point for trekking and climbing tours of Mount Toukbal, the highest summit in North Africa.

The suspect was arrested in the city of Marrakesh about 60 kilometres north of Imlil, the ministry said.

The Danish victim, Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, "had her throat cut," her mother Helle Petersen was quoted by the Danish newspaper B.T. as saying.

Her family had warned her against going to Morocco "because of the chaotic situation," she added.

According to Jespersen's Facebook page, she had studied in Norway to be a guide.

Norwegian media named the other victim as 28-year-old Maren Ueland.

"Her priority was safety. The girls took every precaution before going on this trip," her mother Irene Ueland told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The two women studied at a university in southern Norway and had planned to travel together for a month, she said, adding that her last contact with her daughter was on December 9.

A Norwegian policeman from the embassy in Rabat is travelling to Marrakesh to act as a liaison between the authorities.

Morocco's tourism sector accounts for 10 percent of national income and is one of the country's main sources of foreign currency.

After several years of near-stagnation, Morocco welcomed a record 11.35 million visitors in 2017, exceeding the 11-million mark for the first time.