Morocco’s BCIJ has made five more arrests in connection with the heinous murders of two Scandinavian tourists in Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) has arrested five more suspects for the killing of Danish tourist Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Norwegian tourist Maren Ueland.
International and Moroccan news outlets reported that the BCIJ has arrested a total of 18 suspects connected to the case up to this point.
BCIJ and the public prosecutor at Rabat’s Court of Appeals have not issued a statement to confirm the new arrests yet. Previously, the government affirmed it had arrested 13 suspects.
BCIJ made its first arrest on December 18 andthe next three on Thursday, December 20.
On Friday, BCIJ announced the arrest of nine more suspects with alleged ties to the murders. The arrests were made in several cities across Morocco, including Essaouira; Sidi Bennour, near Casablanca; Marrakech; Tangier; and Chtouka Ait Baha, near Agadir.
Authorities found the bodies of Louisa and Maren on Monday, December 17.
The government has strongly denounced the murders and described them as a terror attack.
Security officials said that the suspects acted alone without coordination with ISIS.
In a new interview, BCIJ chief Abdelhak Khiame said that the suspects did not fit the profile of a terrorist because they were living normal lives.
He added that people who know the suspects were shocked to discover that they were involved in the double murder. The victims were stabbed, cut in the throat, and decapitated.
The suspects, according to Khiame, were influenced by the self-styled “emir” of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Four suspects appeared in a video posted online on Thursday pledging allegiance to al-Baghdadi. The four suspects were the first four to be arrested for the double murder. The suspects, said Khiame, did not have any specific target but were planning to attack security services or any foreign target in the area.
Khiame noted that although they pledged allegiance to ISIS in the video, the four suspects committed the murder without coordination with ISIS. The suspects have no links with terrorists operating in Syria, Iraq, or Libya, he asserted.