Algeria and Morocco completely severed diplomatic relations two years ago, and things haven’t improved since. Reuters reported in March that Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said that relations with Morocco reached a “point of no return,” a terrifying prospect considering that the countries fought each other in a war during the 1960s. This incident will likely just add more fuel to the fire.
Four French-Moroccan dual nationals set off on jet skis from Saidia, a Moroccan resort city along the country’s eastern border with Algeria. The four tourists got lost and ran out of fuel in the Mediterranean Sea but eventually found themselves in Algerian waters. BBC News reported a dinghy operated by the Algerian Coast Guard met the quartet out on the water, and those onboard the craft opened fire without warning.
Photo: N-sky (iStock by Getty Images)
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Only a single person, Mohamed Kissi, returned after the deadly altercation. The Algerian Coast Guard shot and killed two of the four jet skiers. A third tourist was arrested. Kissi tried to swim back to Morocco and was rescued by the Royal Moroccan Navy. Kissi told AFP, “They arrested my other friend. Five bullets hit my brother and my friend. My other friend was hit by a bullet.” He also claims that his group didn’t and couldn’t attempt to flee when they were spotted by Algeria’s coast guard.
A fisherman discovered one of the bodies and the other body still remains in Algeria. Smail Snabe, the arrested tourist, is reportedly scheduled to appear before a prosecutor on Wednesday. The Algerian-Moroccan border has been a source of tension between the two countries since they became independent of France. The border has been closed since 1994 because of disputes between the two countries including sovereignty over Western Sahara.