Danish intelligence services said they have authenticated a video showing the murder of one of two Scandinavian women in Morocco.
“The PET (intelligence service) confirms that a video circulating on the internet shows the murder of one of the two women killed in Morocco,” the authorities said in a statement on Thursday.
The video purportedly showed the killing, with a woman screaming while a man cut her neck with what appears to be a kitchen knife.
On Wednesday, prosecutors in Rabat said a man arrested over the killing of the two tourists in the Atlas Mountains belongs to an armed group, without giving the name of the group.
|Norwegian Maren Ueland, 28, poses in this undated photo [Private Handout/Reuters]|
The suspect was arrested in Marrakech, Morocco’s tourist hub, on Tuesday and police were hunting other individuals identified as suspects.
“We are working to bring before justice three other suspects on the run,” said police spokesperson Boubker Sabik.
The victims – Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, of Denmark and 28-year-old Maren Ueland of Norway – were killed in an unguarded area in hard-to-reach mountains, he said.
A source from Imlil said one of the victims was found dead inside her tent while another was found outside.
Citing a security source, Morocco’s public TV channel 2M said on its website that investigations showed the slaying of the two tourists was related to armed groups.
Moroccan media outlets reported that investigators have video surveillance footage showing three suspects putting up a tent near the victims’ tent and leaving the area after the slaying.
Authorities in Denmark and Norway warned their citizens against hiking without local guides in Morocco after the killings. Danish police officials said on Wednesday they sent an officer to Morocco to assist in the investigation.
Maren Ueland’s mother, Irene Ueland, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK her daughter had taken safety precautions before making the trip.
Jespersen’s mother told tabloid BT that the family had warned her against undertaking the journey.
The University of South-Eastern Norway said on its website that both women were studying to earn bachelor’s degrees in outdoor life, culture and ecophilosophy. They attended a campus in Boe, southern Norway, west of Oslo.
“What we know is that they were on a month-long, private holiday in Morocco. Our thoughts go to the families,” the university said on its homepage, adding flags were flown at half-staff in their memory on Tuesday.
Morocco has been largely insulated from the attacks by armed groups that have plagued other countries in North Africa.
The latest bomb attack in the country dates back to April 2011 when 17 people were killed in a restaurant in Marrakech.
Morocco has stepped up its effort to counter armed groups with the creation in 2015 of its own version of the FBI. The Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations has so far broken up 57 cells of armed groups, including eight in 2018.
More than 1,000 Moroccan youths, predominantly from the north of the country, have joined armed groups in the Middle East.