Friends and family hold candle-lit vigil for Norwegian backpacker who was beheaded by extremists in Morocco as police detain 13 suspects over the horrific killings that were filmed and shared online

  • Several hundred people from the Norwegian coastal town of Bryne marched through its streets this evening
  • The family and friends of 28-year-old Maren Ueland, who grew up in Bryne, attended the torchlit procession 
  • The bodies of Ueland and her Danish friend Louisa Jespersen, 24, were found in Morocco on December 17

Hundreds of people from the hometown of one of the Scandinavian students killed in Morocco earlier this week have held a torchlit procession to show solidarity with the victim’s families. 

Between 500 and 1000 people from Bryne in Norway, where Maren Ueland grew up, marched through the streets of the coastal town on Friday evening.   

The 28-year-old’s parents, friends and other family members participated in the march, alongside Reinert Kverneland, mayor of the municipality.  

The event was organised by the council, the local business community and various groups including the district branch of the Red Cross, which opened the doors of its offices after the torch procession to give people the opportunity to comfort each other and speak to experts in psychological first aid.

People from Maren Ueland’s hometown of Bryne in Norway walked in a torch-lit march to support her family and friends on Friday evening. Reinert Kverneland, mayor of the municipality, is pictured leading the procession

Between 500 and 1000 people attended the event, after which the local Red Cross opened its doors to allow people to receive counselling if they wished to 

The organizers said the event was not a memorial but a way to stand together with Ms Ueland’s family and friends and show emotions, including shock and grief 

It was emphasized that the event was not a memorial, but a way to show support and compassion to Ms. Ueland’s friends and family.

‘It’s important to stand together and be important for people to show solidarity,’ Thor Inge Sveinsvoll, manager of the Rogaland county Red Cross, told Norway’s Aftenposten. 

‘It’s important to stand together and show emotions, it’s shock and grief you cannot understand.’

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‘We want to show that we care about each other, and that we are together for a kinder world,’ said Odd Ivar Nese, one of the organizers.

A gathering has been planned outside the Norwegian Embassy in the Moroccan capital Rabat tomorrow to condemn terrorism, honour the victims and support their families. 

Thousands of people have said on Facebook that they will attend.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen (left) and her friend Maren Ueland (right) were murdered in Morocco by suspected ISIS terrorists

A Moroccan man places a Norwegian flag next to flowers and the portraits of murdered Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Nowegian Maren Ueland, as he pays tribute to them, in the Moroccan central city of Marrakesh. A vigil has been planned outside the Norwegian Embassy in the Moroccan capital Rabat tomorrow

The bodies of Ms Ueland, 28, and Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, were found on December 17, after the two friends had pitched their tent at an isolated mountain site two hours’ walk from the tourist village of Imlil in Morocco. 

They had died from neck injuries consistent with ISIS-style beheading, and a video showing the gruesome act is being widely circulated by gloating ISIS fanatics on social media.

The footage shows a man using a large knife to sever the head of a woman, believed to be Louisa Jespersen, while shouting ‘it’s Allah’s will’. 

Suspect are arrested by the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) in coordination with the Royal Gendarmerie and national security services in Marrakesh 

Ms Ueland and Ms Vesterager Jespersen, who were studying to be outdoor guides at a Norwegian university, were spotted with three men in Marrakesh before heading to the Atlas mountains to hike. 

They had been travelling around the country as part of a month-long trekking holiday.      

Thirteen people have so far been arrested across Morocco as the hunt intensifies to uproot the Isis cell responsible for the beheadings. 

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