Algerian coastguards shot dead two tourists on holiday in neighbouring Morocco on Tuesday when their jet skis reportedly strayed across the maritime border between the two countries, Moroccan media reported on Friday.
Bilal Kissi, who lived in France, his older brother Mohamed, their Moroccan cousin Abdelali Mechouar, and a friend Smail Snabe, had gone jet skiing from the popular beach resort of Saidia.
Bilal’s brother was the only one to make it home. He says he was picked up by the Moroccan navy who took him back to the marina.
“They (the Algerians) – said we were fleeing but it wasn’t true. We were trying to talk to them. The shooting continued, five bullets hit my brother and my friend,” said Mohamed Kissi.
“My other friend’s jet ski was hit by a bullet. The black (Algerian) dinghy overturned a friend’s jet ski and they took him with them.”
Moroccan media are reporting that Snabe, also French-Moroccan, was arrested by the Algerian coastguard and appeared before a prosecutor on Wednesday.
Moroccan media reported on Friday that Mechouar’s body was still in Algeria and that the prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the incident.
The incident comes against the backdrop of increased tensions between the two countries over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
The border between the North African neighbours has been closed since 1994. Algiers severed ties with Rabat in 2021.