A group of tourists said Algerian coast guard officers shot at them after their jet skis strayed into Algerian waters. France confirmed one of its citizens was among those killed.
Prosecutors in Morocco launched an investigation on Friday into the deaths of two men who are believed to have been shot dead by Algerian forces.
Moroccan media earlier reported that a French-Moroccan and a Moroccan citizen were shot dead by coast guards as they crossed the maritime border into Algerian waters on jet skis near the popular Moroccan seaside resort of Saidia.
The Algerian government has not commented on the case. The Moroccan government also declined to comment on the details of the deaths.
France on Friday confirmed the death of one of its citizens in Algeria and the imprisonment of another. In a brief message, the country’s Foreign Ministry spoke of “an incident involving several of our nationals.”
However, the French Foreign Ministry did not provide further information on the identity of the person allegedly killed, or the person who has been detained.
The French Foreign Ministry said its “crisis support center and our embassies in Morocco and Algeria are in close contact with our fellow citizens’ families, to whom we are offering every support.”
Jet ski ride turned into nightmare
Mohamed Kissi, one of the men involved in the incident, told Moroccan media about the tragic jet ski ride. According to Kissi, the incident happened on Tuesday when he and the other four men were riding jet skis near Saidia and got lost.
Their jet skis ran low on fuel and the group eventually strayed into Algerian waters as night approached.
After dark, an Algerian ship approached the group and fired on them. Mohamed Kissi said his brother Bilal and his friend Abdelai Mechouer were killed.
Moroccan media reported that Bilal’s body was later found on a beach at Saidia — just shy of the border with Algeria.
Algerian authorities arrested one more member of the group, Kissi said. He himself survived the incident and returned home with another man. Reuters was initially unable to independently verify the information.
Mohammed and Bilal Kissi, as well as the man who is believed to have been arrested, each have Moroccan and French citizenship, according to local media.
Tensions between Algeria and Morocco
The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994, and Algeria severed diplomatic ties in August 2021, accusing Morocco of “hostile actions.” Rabat has called this decision “completely unjustified.”
dh/jcg (AFP, Reuters)