Charlotte Tyler
September 2, 2023

Tourists killed after jet skiing across enemy country's maritime border

The Algerian coast guard shot and killed two tourists and arrested a third after the group mistakenly entered Algerian waters while on vacation in jet skis from Morocco.

Four tourists of dual French-Moroccan nationality set sail from a Moroccan resort in the town of Saidia and "got lost" on the open water until they arrived in Algeria, according to one of the survivors who spoke to AFP, as Fox News reported.

"We knew we were in Algeria, because a black Algerian dinghy came towards us," Mohamed Kissi, brother of one of the deceased, explained.

Run-in Details

Kissi was clear in his report that the group did not attempt to escape the local coast guard, which could have necessitated the use of deadly force. Their family has requested that the case be brought before international court.

The body of Abdelali Merchouer, the second victim, is still in Algeria, according to a Moroccan news source. Kissi was the only to escape.

Fishermen discovered his brother's body afloat in the water hours later. Wednesday, his family was able to recover his body and bury him near the Moroccan city of Oujda.

Merchouer's family has also requested the return of his corpse, requesting that the governments of both countries reach an agreement to expedite the procedure.

Foreign Authorities Assessment

Moroccan authorities have not commented on the case, citing it as a judicial matter, and neither have Algeria's navy or foreign ministry.

The French Foreign Ministry said it was in contact with the families and authorities in Morocco and Algeria after learning of the demise of one of its citizens and the detention of another in Algeria.

The BBC reported that Smail Snabe, the man apprehended by the coast guard, met with a prosecutor on Wednesday, but the details of the meeting remain unknown.

Since gaining independence from colonial France, Algeria and Morocco's border disputes have remained tense, with strict controls along the frontier and no direct legal trade between the two countries.

The border was closed in 1994, and diplomatic relations were severed in 2021 as a result of alleged "hostile acts," with Morocco describing the action as "completely unjustified."

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