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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Terror in Morocco: Images of Tourists’ Slayings Posted on Mothers’ Facebook Pages

Footage of the brutal murder of two young female hikers in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains was posted to the accounts of the victims’ mothers Facebook pages on Friday. 

Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, were killed on Monday after being ambushed in their tent near the Moroccan village of Imlil. Norwegian investigators have also authenticated a video of one of the murders, which was uploaded to Facebook. 

At least 13 people have been arrested in connection to the slayings, which are being investigated as a terrorist act by Moroccan authorities. 

While the video and images of the women have been taken down from Facebook and YouTube, uncensored photos of Jespersen and Ueland can still be found on Twitter.

Four suspects are believed to be directly involved in the killings, and one of those men previously served time in prison for an extremism-related case, according to state-run Moroccan news agency 2M. Moroccan investigators also authenticated a video that shows a number of the suspects declaring allegiance to ISIS.

The U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Morocco sent out a security alert on Dec. 20 advising all U.S. citizens traveling in Morocco to exercise increased caution.

The State Department is advising all American tourists to: 

  • Exercise additional vigilance, especially in isolated or rural areas.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Monitor local media for updates.

The United Kingdom also released a travel warning to tourists in Morocco.

“The Moroccan authorities have warned of an increased threat linked to the number of Moroccans sympathetic or belonging to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL/ISIS) and other extremist groups, and regularly report the disruption of terrorist cells across the country, some of which have intended to carry out attacks in Morocco against government installations, public spaces and tourist sites,” the advisory notes. “There’s considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.”

James Cullum
Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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