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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Pictured girl 'is not Madeleine'
The picture was taken in Morocco three weeks ago

A blonde girl photographed in Morocco is not missing Madeleine McCann, according to journalists who met her.

British and Spanish reporters claim to have traced the girl, pictured being carried on a Moroccan woman's back.

London newspaper the Evening Standard says the girl is a five-year-old from the village of Zinat.

The McCanns' spokesman said the news, if true, was disappointing. Madeleine disappeared on 3 May from a holiday apartment in Portugal.

Easily traced

Experts were said to be examining the image, taken three weeks ago by a Spanish tourist, in the hope that the girl was the missing four-year-old from Rothley, Leicestershire.

Bushra and her mother, pictured in Zinat on Wednesday
Five-year-old Bushra was mistaken for Madeleine

But Rashid Razaq, the Standard reporter who flew to Morocco from London, said he had seen the youngster in the picture.

"She has got a resemblance to Madeleine but when you see her properly, it is obvious it isn't her."

He said the picture was of a girl he named as Bushra, daughter of an olive farmer.

The Spanish reporter who also claims to have traced the girl in the picture says she is a Moroccan of Berber origin.

The journalist told the BBC he found her by showing the photo to villagers, who quickly identified the family.

Meanwhile, the directors of Madeleine's Fund, which was set up to finance the search for the four-year-old, announced they have spent about 300,000 so far.

Much of the money has been spent on poster campaigns, private investigators and the McCanns' living expenses.

The family's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, has promised that the search for Madeleine will continue.

Formal suspects

There have been several reported sightings of Madeleine since she went missing, but as yet none has led to a significant breakthrough.

Most recently, a British man believed he had spotted Madeleine near a hotel in Marrakech in Morocco.

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine has not been seen since 3 May

A Norwegian tourist also reported seeing her on the same day, in the same place.

In July, another reported sighting, this time in the eastern Belgian town of Tongeren, proved to be a false alarm.

Portuguese police made Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate, formal suspects in the inquiry into their child's disappearance earlier this month.

The couple insist she was abducted while they ate at a nearby tapas bar with friends.

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