The Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) arrested a suspect involved in the murder of two Scandinavian tourists near Morocco’s Mount Toubkal.
The preliminary investigation led to the suspect being identified. He is now in custody for further investigation into other possible suspects. The murder took place in an isolated area, 10 kilometers from the village of Imlil in the Atlas Mountains.
On Monday, Moroccan authorities found the bodies of the two tourists, who came to the area to camp.
A local said that the tourists arrived in Imlil on Wednesday, December 12. The source said that the tourists did not have a guide, which is generally recommended.
“The victims were killed in the same place where they spent their first night,” he added.
The local said that the women had returned to the place where they spent their first night, planning to leave the following day.
A statement from the Ministry of the Interior said today that the victims’ necks showed evidence of knife wounds.
After the incident, a tourist told Morocco World News that the victims were camping “near the Club Alpin Francais (CAF) refuge at the base of Toubkal.”
Several Moroccan news outlets alleged that the victims were raped, although the investigation is still underway and nothing is known definitively. The motive remains unknown.
The incident is unprecedented as no reported murders have been committed against tourists before. Mount Toubkal, as the highest mountain in North Africa is a popular destination globally for hiking and camping.
The 2019 Travel Risk listed Morocco among the safest countries for tourists. The Travel Risk Map said that Morocco is as safe as most European countries, the US, and Canada, having a low-risk level. According to the map, all Moroccan cities are low risk, except some southern provinces in Western Sahara, which are designated as medium risk.
Morocco, according to the map, is the only country with a low-risk level in North Africa.
Are women safe to travel alone in Morocco?
Morocco receives thousands of tourists from across the world annually. According to the 2018 Travel Trends report, a google search for “solo female travel” returns more than 2.45 million search results on google.
The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), which operates in cooperation with the US Department of State, shared statistics from the Moroccan government on criminal cases, saying that “the government of Morocco’s 2017 crime statistics record 559,035 reported cases, and 583,344 cases sent to courts.”
The report added that the most common crimes are robberies, purse snatching, and harassment of women. The crimes are commonly “perpetrated by criminals who primarily operate in high-traffic and high-density areas.”
However, in an overview of the Crime and Safety report on Morocco, OSAC said that crime in the country is only “a moderate concern, particularly in major cities and tourist areas.”