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French-Moroccan tourists shot dead off Algerian coast

A stock shot of a jet skier
A stock shot of a jet skier Copyright ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images
Copyright ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images
By Saskia O'DonoghueEuronews with AFP
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Coastguards killed two holiday makers and arrested another after they mistakenly strayed into Algerian waters, fuelling diplomatic tensions between the country and neighbouring Morocco.


Two French-Moroccan holiday makers have been killed by the Algerian coastguard after apparently straying into Algerian waters on their jet ski.

Local reports suggest that the dead were among four tourists who had set off from the Moroccan resort of Saidia.

A third member of the group was arrested by the coastguard. They patrol the closed border between the two states.

According to AFP, only one of the group made it safely back to Moroccan waters.

Mohamed Kissi, whose brother Bilal was killed, explained, “We got lost but we kept going until we found ourselves in Algeria".

The group had run out of fuel when they saw the coastguard approaching.

"We knew we were in Algeria because a black Algerian dinghy came towards us" and those on board "fired at us", he said, adding, “Thank God I wasn't hit but they killed my brother and my friend"

Kissi refuted claims that the group had tried to escape when they were discovered by the coastguard.

He told local media that his late brother had tried to explain the situation to officials before he was shot.

Following the incident, Kissi said he then tried to swim back to Saidia and he was picked up by the Moroccan navy.

His cousin, actor Abdelkarim Kissi, has asked Moroccan authorities to bring the case to international courts.

"They killed Bilal Kissi, my little cousin," Kissi wrote on social media, “His only fault was crossing the Algerian territorial waters, he was on vacation with his friends".

Abdelali Merchouer was named as the second man killed and the Moroccan news site Le360 reports that his body is still in Algeria.

Smaïl Snabé has been identified as the man arrested by the Algerian coastguard. He reportedly appeared before a prosecutor on Wednesday but no details have yet been given.

History of border tensions

So far there has been no comment from Algeria or the French embassy in Morocco. A Moroccan government spokesman refused to speak to AFP about the incident, saying it was "a matter for the judiciary".


Morocco and Algeria have a long history of tensions, chiefly over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

The African countries share a border of nearly 2,000km.

That border was closed in 1994 and Algeria severed diplomatic ties with Morocco in 2021, accusing Rabat of "hostile acts".

Moroccan officials called the decision "completely unjustified".

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