Two female tourists, one from Norway and the other from Denmark were found dead in Morocco with apparent knife wounds to their necks, and a man was arrested on suspicion of murder, said the Moroccan Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation.
Police said they’re looking for possible accomplices, officials said on Facebook on Dec. 18.
A man, who asked to not to be named, said the two were tourists and were “allegedly found decapitated,” Sky News reported. The man said the women were traveling without a guide and had been camping “somewhere near the Fédération Français refuge at the base of Mount Toubkal.”
Marokko: Zwei Rucksack-Touristinnen ermordet – Louisas Mutter Helle Jespersen schrieb am Montagabend auf Facebook: „Reise nie nach Marokko. Sie haben meine Tochter und ihre Freundin mit scharfen Gegenständen geschlachtet.“ https://t.co/wIYGWNKJsF
— Aslan Kaplan (@Etrosplanetos) December 18, 2018
The women were found dead in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. Officials did not say in the Facebook post whether at least one of the women had been decapitated.
Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, a 24-year-old from Denmark, was identified as one of the slain women, The Telegraph reported. Norwegian news outlets identified the other victim as 28-year-old Maren Ueland, according to the AFP news agency.
Both were found “with evidence of violence to their necks,” the ministry said.
Helle Jespersen, the woman’s mother, said she urged her daughter not to go to Morocco. “We advised her to go down because it’s such a chaotic place, and you’ve heard of people who have been killed down there,” she was quoted by the paper as saying.
Her mother said her daughter’s “throat had been cut,” citing information from Danish police.
“I broke down,” the mother said. “She was always happy and positive. All people could with her and she brought out the best in everyone.”
“The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been informed that a Norwegian and a Danish citizen have been found dead in the Atlas Mountains south of Marrakech,” Guri Solnerh, communications adviser at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ABC News. “The deaths and victims’ identities have now been confirmed by local authorities.”
The officials added: “We are in contact with relatives and are providing consular assistance in accordance with established practices and framework for assistance in connection with deaths of Norwegian citizens abroad. Our embassy is in contact with local authorities and representatives from the embassy are present in Marrakech.”
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the two were killed while hiking in the Atlas Mountains. “The Danish Police has notified the relatives of the Danish woman,” a representative told ABC.
“The relatives have been offered consular assistance by the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Danish Embassy in Morocco. The Danish ambassador is currently in Marrakech to ensure the closest possible contact to the local Moroccan authorities,” the representative added.
The Telegraph noted that tourism accounts for about 5 percent of Morocco’s economy, while Sky noted that the sector is the second largest employer after agriculture. “It’s very bad for the region. There will undoubtedly be cancellations,” a local guide told AFP.
The University of Sorost-Norge wrote that two of their students died in Morocco on Dec. 17, and the university set its flags at half-staff to mourn the pair.