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Two jet-skiing tourists holidaying in Morocco shot dead after straying into Algerian waters
1 September 2023, 15:01
Two jet-skiing tourists holidaying in Morocco have been shot dead after straying into Algerian waters.
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Bilal Kissi and Abdelali Merchouer, who were both French-Moroccan dual nationals, took a wrong turn off the Moroccan resort of Saidia.
They were part of a group of four on the trip, which also included Smail Snabe. Following the shooting, Snabe was arrested by the Algerian coastguard and appeared before a prosecutor on Wednesday, according to the Le360 news site.
Mohamed Kissi, the brother of one of the young men to have died, was the only one to make it back to Morocco.
"We got lost but we kept going until we found ourselves in Algeria," Mr Kissi told local media.
"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."
He explained: "They arrested my other friend. Five bullets hit my brother and my friend. My other friend was hit by a bullet."
Mr Kissi said he tried to swim back to Saidia and was eventually picked up by the Moroccan navy.
His cousin, actor Abdelkarim Kissi, called on Moroccan authorities to bring the case before international courts.
"They killed Bilal Kissi my little cousin," he said.
"His only fault was crossing the Algerian territorial waters, he was on vacation with his friends."
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.
It comes amid growing tensions between Algeria and Morocco due to the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
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.
Algeria accused its neighbour of "hostile acts" but Morocco said the claim was "completely unjustified".