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Scandinavian women killed in Imlil : The story that preceded the tragic murder

Days before their bodies were found dead near Imlil, the two Scandinavian mountaineers arrived in Morocco to climb the Toubkal Mount. Before joining the village bordering Morocco’s highest peak, the two women stayed in Marrakech preparing for their unfortunate adventure.

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Scandinavian tourists Louisa Jespersen and Maren Ueland./Ph. DR

Danish student Louisa Jespersen and her Norwegian classmate and friend Maren Ueland had gone backpacking for a month-long Christmas holiday, December, in Morocco. Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak, was on their travel checklist and they headed to the city of Marrakech for that.

Unfortunately, the Scandinavian alpinists were found dead near their tent, Monday December the 17th, with cuts to their necks, a tragedy that is currently investigated by the police.

The hotel in Marrakech

But before the tragic events took place, the two adventurous women, as described by their families, arrived in the North African Kingdom on December the 9th, said the Daily Mail. Before heading to Imlil, the starting point for treks to Mount Toubkal, the two tourists stayed at a hotel in Marrakech.

Louisa and Maren stayed at the Faouzi Hotel, a backpackers’ hotel located in Marrakech’s ancient Medina, says the Daily Mail which spoke to an agent working there. Only days before their murder, the two Scandinavian tourists spent one night at the hotel with three other female friends, who left for surfing.

Danish tourist Louisa Jespersen, 24, who was killed near Imlil./Ph. DailyMailDanish tourist Louisa Jespersen, 24, who was killed near Imlil./Ph. DailyMail

«They checked in on the 10th and spent one night here», a hotel employee told the daily mail, recalling that «there were five girls together in the beginning. All tourists. The next morning, three of them went off surfing. The other two, Maren and Louisa, went into town at noon, leaving their luggage here».

The Danish and Norwegian adventurers went back to the same hotel at around five in the afternoon and collected their luggage, getting ready for the mountains, reports the British online newspaper.

«They were laughing between themselves. They were in a normal, happy mood», said the same employee who indicated that they left the hotel after meeting three Moroccan guys.

«The girls packed their backpacks and left with the guys. They left the hotel and we didn't hear about them again until the 17th, when we heard that they had been murdered», explained the hotel employee.

Hiking without a tour guide

Reportedly, Louisa and Maren left for Imlil to climb the Toubkal Mount. That was announced before by the 24-year-old Danish tourist on her Facebook page.

«Dear friends, im going to Morocco in december. Any of you guys whos around by then or any mountain friends who knows something about Mount Toubkal? (sic)», wrote Louisa on November the 21st.

Once in Imlil, Louisa and Maren refused to rely on a tour guide to climb Morocco’s highest peak. This was confirmed by a restaurant owner contacted by the Daily Mail.

Norwegian tourist Maren Ueland, 28, who was killed near Imlil./Ph. DRNorwegian tourist Maren Ueland, 28, who was killed near Imlil./Ph. DR

«They said they wanted to climb Toubkal mountain because it is 4,167 meters tall (…) I insisted that they take a local guide with them, but they didn’t want to. They didn’t think they needed it», said the man.

The same thing happened when local guide, Mohammed Jalal, warned the two women that «it could be slippery in the mountains, but they seemed to have the right equipment and knew how to wear them», reported Stravanger Aftenblad.

Indeed, both women had been studying «outdoor activities, nature and cultural guidance» at a Norwegian college in a village called Bo.

Shocked by the tragic murder, the mother of Maren, Irene Ueland, said that the «girls had taken all precautionary measures before embarking on this trip», reports NRK.

The bodies of Maren and Louisa were found, Monday, 10 kilometers from the village of Imlil by French mountaineers. Since then, four suspects have been arrested by the authorities which indicated in a communiqué made public, Wednesday, that the murder might be terror-related.

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