Three men arrested for the double murder in Morocco
Three Moroccan men were arrested by Moroccan police on Tuesday, suspected of killing Norwegian Maren Ueland (28) and Danish Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (24).
All three men were arrested in Marrakech, located about seven miles north of the Atlas Mountains where the two students were found dead on Monday. According to Moroccan media, all three men are inhabitants of Marrakech.
The two women, Maren Ueland (28) from Bryne in Rogaland and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (24) from Ikast in West Jutland, Denmark, were found killed near the village of Imlil.
Moroccan authorities state that the two have cuts to their throats inflicted by a sharp object. Local sources state that the women were stabbed with knives by unknown persons.
According to several media, the suspects allegedly camped near the place where the two women had settled for the night in the popular hiking area on northern Africa’s tallest mountain, Toubkal. According to eyewitnesses, the suspects left the area around 3 am the night before the women were found.
– The suspects camped in the area where the murders occurred. Witnesses saw the group during the night as they were en route to the campsite, a source tells the Moroccan newspaper Morrocco World News (MWN).
Both of the murder victims were students at the University of Southeastern Norway (USN) at Bø in Telemark, where fellow students and teachers gathered on Tuesday. Outside the university, the flag flew half-mast. The two students attended the second year of a bachelor program in outdoor activities that the university at Bø offers.
Maren Ueland’s mother, Irene Ueland, says that they read about the murders on Monday night and feared that it was Maren and her Danish study mate that was involved.
– I called the police emergency number. The police knew nothing but would check. A little later they called me while I was driving the car from Varhaug back home to Bryne. They asked me to find a place to stop. I realised that what we feared the most had happened, Irene Ueland tells Stavanger Aftenblad.
Found by tourists
It was other tourists in the area who found the two dead women. A source tells MWN that a local guide met crying tourists who told about what they had encountered. The guide contacted the local police in turn.
According to this source, robbery can all but be ruled out as a motive, as none of the two women’s assets is missing.
Kripos worked through Interpol on Monday and Tuesday with the Moroccan police to clarify questions about the course of events and whether there is a need for assistance from Norwegian police.
A Norwegian police officer attached to the Norwegian embassy is already in place in Marrakech and acts as a liaison between Norwegian and Moroccan police. The Norwegian ambassador is also present in the city.
Louisa Vesterager Jespersen’s mother tells the Danish newspaper B.T. that she asked her daughter not to travel because of the chaotic situation in Morrocco.
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advice for Morocco after the deaths and now warns against hiking on your own without a guide in the mountain areas. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) has not changed their travel advice, saying that most travel in Morocco is considered to be problem-free, but the UD emphasises that «precautions must be made».
– Everyone here is very surprised and quite put out about what has happened, the Morrocon based Norwegian Thor Arne Hauer. He arranges tours in the area where the women were found. Hauer points out that Morocco is faring well on the list of dangerous travel destinations for tourists.
The family is in deep mourning
Maren Ueland’s family who is killed in Morocco, is in deep mourning, explains the family’s Counselling Attorney, Ragnar Falck Paulsen.
– They are of course in deep mourning. My role is to care for Maren Ueland’s mother and family, Paulsen tells NTB.
He informs that he was contacted by councillor Trygve Apeland in Time Municipality on Tuesday afternoon. The counsellor informed him that he had learned that Ueland’s mother wanted him as her legal representative in the case. He was awarded the assignment at 2 pm and confirmed the assignment to the Jæren District Court later in the day.
– I have talked to the mother of the deceased. She has asked me to relate to the media, police and prosecution so she does not have to do it herself. I know her from before and she is grateful that I can accept this assignment, Paulsen states.
– She herself tries to take care of her other children and her family and concentrates on that. My role in the case is to try and shield her and the family. I have promised her to try to get information about the matter from both the media and the police and relay to her, the lawyer explains.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today