Rabat – While mafia-related crimes are uncommon in Morocco, the Dutch nationals arrested for their involvement in Marrakech’s La Créme café shooting have revealed that they received orders by an international “drug lord” to kill the cafe’s owner, reported Moroccan daily Al Massae.
The unprecedented shooting incident continues to make national headlines, as Moroccan security services pursue investigations into the circumstances and the motive behind the crime.
On November 2, two masked suspects killed a 26-year old man and injured two others individuals before fleeing the scene on a motorcyle.
In its Wednesday edition, Al Massae reported that the suspects made a detailed plan of the crime before committing it. The two Dutchmen, who have since been arrested by Moroccan authorities, entered Morocco with tourist visas, claiming that they were interested in exploring the city of Marrakech. The suspects reportedly booked a room in a luxury hotel in the city, but they shortly moved to another hotel named 555 only a few days later.
According to the national daily, the assassins were accompanied by an unidentified suspect, who took them on a tour in the city by car to show them the cafe’s owner, who was sitting with his sister at the cafe wearing a white shirt and black shorts.
At around 7:45 p.m. local time, the suspects stopped their T-Max motorcycle in front of cafe and headed to the same seat where their target was sitting along with his sister. The owner, however, had left the café minutes before the attackers arrived, and his seat was taken by a medical student. The shooters mistook him for their target and opened fire, killing him and injuring two others. The suspects then fled the scene, with nobody able to stop them since they were armed.
Following the incident, a vehicle came to carry the shooters and their motorcycle to a place near Marrakech’s airport, where the motorcycle and weapons used in the murder were found burnt a couple of hours after the shooting, reported Al Massae.
The same vehicle then took them back to the hotel.
“The defendants stayed in 555 hotel only five hours as they told the hotel receptionist that they were leaving in the same day they arrived,” said to Al Massae. This sparked the hotel’s staff’s curiosity and led them to call the police, who then arrested the suspects at about 2 a.m.
Al Massae added that the cafe’s boss left the city on Thursday night with his family to Casablanca, which aroused the Moroccan authorities’ suspicion. The owner then was called for investigations by Marrakech police about his impromptu move to Casablanca.
“The owner headed to Marrakech’s police headquarters along with four lawyers,” said the newspaper. La Creme’s boss denied knowing anything about the crime.
Drug Lord Orders Shooters to Kill La Creme Cafe Owner
The newspaper said that the suspects received an order to kill the cafe’s owner for a USD 50,000 reward from an international “drug lord,” who is currently serving 12 years’ imprisonment in Netherlands. The cafe owner has reportedly stole the money from one of the boss’ cocaine shipment, estimated at EUR 27 million.
The suspects confessed to their crimes to Abdelhak El Khiam, Head of Morocco’s Counterterrorism Bureau, according the newspaper. The two defendants, aged 29 and 24 originally from the Dominican Republic and Suriname, were already known by the Moroccan authorities for their direct involvement in cases of international drug trafficking, kidnapping, armed robbery, and attempted homicide.
After the shooting, El Khiam told local media that the shooting was not a terrorist act, a statement which sparked the public’s curiosity.
Initial investigations by the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) have confirmed that the shooting was an act of “settling scores” in connection with an international drug trafficking network, which they said was involved in similar crimes in different European countries.
According to Moroccan TV channel 2M, the masked gunmen were after the cafe’s owner, while the killed victim, who was a medical student. The victim was merely “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” added 2M.
The cafe’s owner allegedly received death threats before the incident, he told the TV channel.
Six other individuals suspected of being involved were detained on November 3 in Casablanca. Investigations are still pending to determine more facts related to the case.