Two students found dead in the mountains of Morocco
A Norwegian and a Danish woman are found dead with stab injuries outside a village in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, according to the country’s Ministry of the Interior.
The female tourists were found with violent injuries caused by a sharp object, the ministry reports in a statement on Monday.
A criminal investigation is underway.
The Norwegian authorities were informed about the incident on Monday afternoon. On Monday night there was still uncertainty about a number of circumstances surrounding the case, including if their relatives had been notified.
– We are working on mapping what is the status of the case, says press officer in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), Ane Lunde, to NTB. They are now in contact with Moroccan authorities.
The female students were found in a remote mountain area near the village of Imlil in the Atlas mountains. Imlil, located 70 kilometres from Marrakech, is often used as a starting point for trips to the Toubkal mountain, the highest mountain in North Africa.
It is not yet known exactly when the two Scandinavians died during the night.
The day after a Norwegian and a Danish student were found killed in Morocco, a person has been arrested and charged with the murder of them.
According to the Interior Ministry of Morroco, the police are searching for several more suspects in the case, but it is not revealed who they are.
The two women, Maren Ueland (28) from Bryne, near Stavanger in Rogaland and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (24) from Grindsted in Southern Jutland, Denmark, were found dead in a mountainous area near Imlil south of Marrakech in Morocco on Monday.
Moroccan authorities state that the two had injuries consistent with violence caused by a sharp object. Both are students at the University of Southeastern Norway in Bø in Telemark.
Gathers fellow students
On Tuesday morning fellow students and teachers will get together at the school.
– We have today received the bad news that two USN students at campus Bø have been killed in Morocco. I will meet their fellow students and teachers today. They are in grief, and we first and foremost concentrate on taking care of them. Eventually, we will arrange a memorial, the Head Master, Petter Aasen, tells NTB.
The students attend the second year of a bachelor program in outdoor life that the university offers at Bø in Telemark.
– They were experienced outdoors-people. I have been informed that they were on a private holiday. The trip was well planned and it went to an area that is considered as safe, the Head Master informs.
The university states on its website that the trip they embarked on was planned to last one month. USN got the message that the two were found dead during the night before Tuesday and have formed a crisis handling staff.
– Everyone here is very surprised and quite put out of by what has happened, Norwegian resident in Morroco, Thor Arne Hauer, says.
He lives in Morocco and arranges tours in the area where the women were found. Hauer points out that Morocco is low in the lists of dangerous travel destinations for tourists.
The murder scene is, according to VG, on a secluded path in the Sidi Chamharouch mountain range, about 10 km from the city of Imlil. Imlil is located 70 km south of Marrakech. The city is frequently used as a starting point for trips to the mountain Toubkal, which is the highest in North Africa.
Sources tell the newspaper that the women arrived on Sunday. They were found by passers by’s on Monday morning.
A large number of police and security people are present on and around the crime scene.
– The whole region is cordoned off, there is much police in the area and helicopters in the air. All planned hikes are cancelled for safety reasons, writes the Moroccan online newspaper Medias24.
The newspaper has contacted a local guide who says that if they had brought a guide along, they would never have been allowed to spend the night in the remote area where they were found.
Mother remembers an outdoors-loving daughter
Maren Ueland and her Danish tour companion had taken every precautionary measure before the Moroccan trip, according to the mother of the Norwegian murder victim.
– She was so incredibly good. Her first priority was safety. The girls had taken all the necessary precautions before embarking on this trip, Irene Ueland tells NRK.
She describes the 28-years-old daughter as a warm, open-air lover and as an engaged person. The mother last heard from her daughter on Sunday, December 9th when they arrived in Morocco. She then texted that everything was fine, but that she did not want to use the mobile phone much in the time to come.
Ueland is from Bryne, south of Sandnes in Rogaland but studies in Bø in Telemark. That also applies the Danish victim, Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (24).
The mother of Jespersen says, on her part, that her daughter went to Morocco contrary to the wishes of her family.
– We advised her not to travel there because it’s so chaotic and you’ve heard of persons who have been killed down there, Helle Jespersen states to the Danish newspaper, Berlingske Tidende.
She tells her daughter was hunting for experiences and remembers her as a happy and positive girl.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today