Newspaper VG was reporting Tuesday afternoon that police in Morocco have arrested three men in connection with the murders of two young Scandinavian women. One man was arrested first and two later in the day, all in Marrakech.
The two women were identied as Maren Ueland, age 28 of Bryne in Rogaland on Norway’s West Coast, and Louisa Vesterager Jespåersen, age 24 of Denmark. Both were students at the University of Southeast Norway in Telemark and were on a hiking holiday in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Their bodies were found with stab wounds in the tent they shared in a mountain village.
Both were described as experienced mountain hikers and were studying for bachelor degrees in outdoor life, culture and nature guiding. University rector Petter Aasen told state broadcaster that the two were traveling on a long-planned private holiday, calling their deaths “a tragedy that hits the university hard.”
VG reported that the men arrested are believed to be part of “a criminal network” with “extremist ideology,” and that a fourth man was under suspicion also. All four were believed to have been camping nearby but reportedly left the area around 3am on Tuesday.
VG reported that it was told such murders were “seldom” in Morocco, which is viewed as a “peaceful country” that receives around 10 million tourists a year.