Moroccans pay homage to murdered Scandinavian hikers

Morocco vigils for murdered Scandinavian tourists

Morocco vigils for murdered Scandinavian tourists

Nine more people have been arrested in Morocco for connections to the four initial suspects in the killing of two Scandinavian university students in a remote corner of the Atlas Mountains, Moroccan authorities said Friday.

One of them was arrested in 2013 as part of a crackdown on individuals who wanted to join extremists overseas, he said, adding that this suspect had radicalized the other three.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, a 24-year-old Danish student, and her Norwegian friend, Maren Ueland, 28 were found dead inside their tent near Imlil by French mountaineers on December 17.

"The emir of the group" was Abdessamad Ejjoud, a 25-year-old street vendor living on the outskirts of Marrakesh, said Khiam.

Filled with pain and sorrow, hundreds of Moroccans gathered across the country, lying flowers and lighting candles for the two murdered tourists, sending a strong message around the world that terrorism will never defeat Morocco, divide it, destroy its values of tolerance or disrupt its way of life. "The crime was not coordinated with Islamic State", he said.

According to an Australian new source, uncensored images of the severed and partially severed heads of the tourists murdered in the Moroccan mountains have been plastered all over the Facebook page of one of their grieving mothers.

The men pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video filmed before they decapitated the women's bodies.

Ouaziyad and Afatti were alongside Ejjoud during the murder, said Khiam.

The bodies of Maren Ueland, from Norway and Louyisa Vesterager Jespersen, from Denmark, were discovered by two other hikers on Monday in the High Atlas Mountains.

Although four suspects pledged their allegiance to ISIS, Moroccan investigators believe they were lone wolves not acting on behalf of ISIS. Another video circulated on social networks allegedly showed the beheading of Jespersen.

The killings marked the first terrorist attack to hit Morocco since 2011, when a suicide bomber detonated in Marrakech and killed 16 people.

An attack in the North African state's financial capital Casablanca killed 33 people in 2003. Morocco has been the site of several disrupted ISIS plots but the militant group does not have an affiliate in the country or a presence there.

"The origins of this extremism must be fought - namely insecurity, illiteracy and ignorance", he said.

The grisly killings have shaken Morocco, where tourism is a cornerstone of the economy.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.