| 1 October 2023, Sunday |

Morocco investigates death of two Frenchmen killed by Algerian

Morocco’s Public Prosecution in Oujda launched an investigation into the killing of two Frenchmen of Moroccan origin, a judicial source reported to the Moroccan News Agency.

The source said that it is believed that the five people on board jet skis lost their way in the sea, explaining that the Public Prosecution ordered the collection of the necessary information to clarify the circumstances of this accident.

The French Foreign Ministry announced the death of a Frenchman, saying another of its citizens was jailed in “an incident involving several of our nationals.”

The ministry did not release the identity of the person it said had been killed.

Moroccan media revealed that four young men were riding jet skis in Algerian waters. Two were killed, and a third survived, while the Algerian Coast Guard detained the fourth.

It appears that the four young men entered Algerian waters by mistake, starting from the beach of the city of Saidia, located on the border.

Moroccan and foreign media reported that Bilel Kissi, a French-Moroccan, and Abdelali Mechouar, a Moroccan, were killed due to bullets being fired by the Algerian Coast Guard in Algerian territorial waters.

The Algerian authorities arrested another young man.

On Friday, friends and relatives attended the funeral of Kissi in Bni Drar, on the Algerian border in eastern Morocco, according to a video obtained by Agence France-Presse.

“We buried a brother and want Abdelali’s body back. He’s our cousin,” a video released by the al-Omk website showed a cousin of Bilal Kissi saying at his funeral.

We want to give him a dignified burial so his mother can have closure,” added the cousin.

Mechouar’s body will likely be with the Algerian authorities, according to Moroccan media.

“We got lost, but we kept going until we found ourselves in Algeria,” Mohamed Kissi, Bilel’s brother, was quoted by al-Omk.

“We knew we were in Algeria because a black Algerian dinghy came towards us,” and those on board “fired at us.”

After the shooting, Mohamed Kissi could get back to Morocco and report what had happened.

He told authorities after being picked up by the navy that the jet skiers had got lost and run out of fuel.

The spokesman for the Moroccan government, Mustafa Paytas, said in his weekly press conference that the incident falls within the jurisdiction of the judicial authority.

The incident comes as the diplomatic rift between Morocco and Algeria continues, knowing that their relations have been tense for decades due to the Sahara conflict, and the land borders between them have been closed since 1994.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat