RABAT – Algerian authorities shot dead at least one Moroccan tourist after a group of five strayed into Algerian waters on jet skis, according to one of the survivors.
Only two of the group returned home, said relatives of the victim and the family of a second man who is missing and presumed to be dead.
The incident took place on Tuesday after the five men lost their bearings while exploring the sea on jet skis near the Moroccan coastal resort of Saidia, on the border with Algeria, said Mohamed Kissi, who survived the incident and who says his brother was killed.
The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994 and the two have had no diplomatic relations since Algiers cut ties with Rabat in 2021.
Speaking in a video published by Morocco’s le360 news site, Kissi said the group of friends had been approached after dark by an Algerian government vessel.
He said he heard the boat firing on the group and said his brother Bilal, 29, and another man, Abdelali Mechouar, 40, were both shot dead. Another member of their group was detained by the Algerian authorities, Kissi said.
Moroccan authorities said they could not comment on the case, calling it a judicial matter.
Algeria’s navy and foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters requests for comment.
Mohamed and Bilal Kissi, along with the unidentified man who is presumed to have been arrested, each have dual Moroccan and French nationality, local media said.
France’s Foreign Ministry said it had learned of the death of one of its nationals and the detention of another in Algeria and was in touch with the families and with authorities in Morocco and Algeria.
Bilal Kissi’s body was found by Moroccan fishermen and he was buried near the eastern Moroccan city of Oujda on Wednesday, his brother said.
Mustafa Mechouar, the father of Abdelali Mechouar, told Reuters he believed his son was dead and wanted to bury him.
“I appeal to Moroccan and Algerian authorities to reach an agreement to bring my son back to me to observe a proper funeral and burial for him,” he said. REUTERS