A plane carrying the bodies of two Scandinavian hikers killed in southern Morocco left Friday the kingdom to Copenhagen, while the terrorist track in this tragedy is less and less doubt.
The bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, a 24-year-old Danish student, and Maren Ueland, a 28-year-old Norwegian, were discovered on Monday in an isolated site in the High Atlas, in a popular area for walking enthusiasts.
One of them was beheaded, according to a source close to the case, while the spokesman of the government Mustapha Khalfi denounced a “terrorist” act. In total, four suspects were arrested in the big tourist city of Marrakech where residents said Friday under the shock of these murders.
The plane carrying the bodies of the two young hikers left Casablanca airport around 12:15 (11:15 GMT) for Copenhagen, told AFP a spokesman for the Directorate General of National Security.
The first suspect, belonging to “an extremist group”, was arrested on Monday, before the other three are apprehended Thursday after a search announcement.
Moroccan investigators are still seeking to authenticate a “video relayed on social networks, presented as showing the murder of one of the two tourists,” according to the prosecutor of Rabat. “At this point, there is no tangible evidence that the video is not authentic,” said Friday the Norwegian Criminal Police (Kripos).
The investigation is working to “verify the terrorist mobile that is supported by evidence and the data of the investigation,” said Thursday in a statement the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), a police unit. the elite in charge of field investigations.
In Rabat, the prosecutor confirmed Thursday evening the authenticity of another video showing this time four men, presented as the suspects of the murder, pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the jihadist group, Islamic State ( EI). All were arrested in Marrakech, an hour away from the scene of the murder.
One of the suspects, 27-year-old Younes Ouaziyad, lived with his parents in the popular Al-Azzouzia neighborhood, where modest, unfinished buildings face residences with swimming pools.
His family and neighbors said Friday “in shock”. “He was a boy without a story, discreet. Nothing could suggest that he could do that, “says AFP Abdelaati, 35, a neighborhood vegetable seller.
Prime Minister Saad-Eddine Othmani denounced a “heinous crime”, while the local press reported his “anger” and “horror” at a “barbaric” act. “These assassins make us ashamed,” writes the daily L’Economiste, calling the murder “a terrible shock for everyone”.
“Public opinion shouts revenge” and “calls for the death penalty,” adds the Moroccan daily quoting petitions in this sense circulating on social networks. Death sentences are still handed down in Morocco, but a moratorium has been applied de facto since 1993 and its abolition is debated.
Moroccan media are also worried about the possible impact of the murder on tourism, a key sector of the economy since it represents 10% of the country’s wealth and is the second largest employer after agriculture.
So far spared by the IS attacks, the kingdom which claims a very active anti-terrorist policy was bruised by attacks in Casablanca 33 dead in 2003 and Marrakech 17 dead in the year 2011.