Two jet-ski tourists holidaying in Morocco are shot dead by Algerian coastguard after straying into their waters
- Victims are Bilal Kissi and Abdelali Merchouer, both French-Moroccan nationals
- A third man was arrested by the Algerian coastguard and appeared before a prosecutor on Wednesday, according to reports
A pair of jet-ski tourists holidaying in Morocco were shot dead by the Algerian coastguard on Thursday after straying across their maritime border.
Bilal Kissi and Abdelali Merchouer, both French-Moroccan dual nationals, came under fire after taking a wrong turn off the beach resort of Saidia on Morocco’s northeast tip, the Le360 news website said, citing a witness.
A third man, Smail Snabe, also French-Moroccan, was arrested by the Algerian coastguard and appeared before a prosecutor on Wednesday, Le360 reported.
There were four men in the group on Tuesday, all riding jet skis in the Mediterranean, Moroccan media reported on Thursday.
‘We got lost but we kept going until we found ourselves in Algeria,’ Mohamed Kissi, the brother of the young man who died, was quoted as saying by the Moroccan website Al Omk.
Two holidaymakers jet skiing in Morocco were shot dead by the Algerian coastguard when they strayed across the maritime border between two Mediterranean countries, Moroccan media reported on Thursday (file photo)
‘We knew we were in Algeria because a black Algerian dinghy came towards us’ and those on board ‘fired at us’, he said.
‘Thank God I wasn’t hit, but they killed my brother and my friend. They arrested my other friend,’ he added.
‘Five bullets hit my brother and my friend. My other friend was hit by a bullet,’ Kissi was quoted as saying.
‘We got lost and we were out of fuel,’ he said, adding that he was picked up by the Moroccan navy who took him back to the Saidia marina.
Kissi’s cousin, the actor Abdelkarim Kissi, has called on authorities in Morocco to bring the case before international courts.
‘They killed Bilal Kissi my little cousin,’ he wrote on social media. ‘His only fault was crossing the Algerian territorial waters, he was on vacation with his friends.’
The incident comes against a backdrop of increased tensions between Algeria and Morocco exacerbated by their antagonism over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
The 1,242 mile border between the North African nations has been closed since 1994, and Algiers severed ties with Rabat in 2021 after accusing its neighbour of ‘hostile acts’, an accusation Morocco called ‘completely unjustified’.
When asked about the reported shooting of the jet skiers on Thursday, Moroccan government spokesman Mustapha Baitas declined to comment, saying only that it was ‘a matter for the judiciary’.
There was no immediate comment from the Algerian side.
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