Swiss-Spanish man arrested in connection with murder of Scandinavian tourists in Morocco

Moroccan authorities have arrested a man with dual Swiss-Spanish nationality over his suspected involvement in the murder of two Scandinavian tourists earlier this month.

The man, who has not been named, was detained in Marrakesh by Moroccan counterterrorism forces on suspicion of training some of the suspects involved in the killing of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, of Denmark and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland.

In a statement the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations said the man was also suspected of involvement in recruiting Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans for “terrorist schemes” targeted at “foreign interests and security forces.”

A forensic team is seen at the area where the bodies of two Scandinavian women tourists were found dead. Credit: AP

The bodies of the two Scandinavian women were found in a remote area in the Atlas Mountains on December 17. Twenty people have so far been arrested as part of the investigation.

The killings have shocked Morocco, a popular tourist destination where attacks on foreigners are extremely rare.

Authorities in Denmark and Norway on Wednesday warned their citizens against hiking without local guides in Morocco after the killings.

A candlelight vigil outside the Danish embassy in Rabat for the two women. Credit: AP

Danish police officials said they have sent an officer to Morocco to assist in the investigation.

Morocco is generally considered safe for tourists but has battled with Islamic extremism for years, and more than a thousand Moroccans are believed to have joined IS.

Maren’s mum told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that her daughter was “warm and engaged”.

She said: “Her first priority was safety. The girls had taken all the precautionary measures before embarking on this trip.”