Jet ski (symbolic image)
Photo: Zeiss4Me / iStockphoto / Getty Images
According to media reports, two jet ski-riding men have been shot dead by the Algerian coast guard. The two tourists were on holiday in Morocco and got into Algerian waters with their vehicles.
The two are said to have held Moroccan passports in addition to the French passport. They came under fire after they took a wrong turn in front of the northern Moroccan resort of Saidia on the Algerian border, the news website "Le360" reported on Thursday, citing a witness.
Shots fired at tourists
A third French-Moroccan tourist was arrested by the Algerian coast guard. According to "Le360", the group consisted of four men on Tuesday. All of them were on jet skis. "We were lost," the Moroccan website Al Omk quoted the brother of one of those allegedly killed. Accordingly, he and his companions had run out of fuel. "We knew we were in Algeria because a black Algerian rubber dinghy was coming towards us," and the people on board were "shooting at us," he said.
Fortunately, he himself was not hit. His brother and a friend, on the other hand, were killed after being hit several times. He himself was eventually picked up by the Moroccan navy and returned to the port of Saidia.
Tense relations between neighbouring countries
Asked about the alleged shooting of the jet ski drivers on Thursday, a Moroccan government spokesman declined to comment. This is "a matter for the judiciary," he said. Algeria has not yet commented on the incident.
Relations between Algeria and Morocco have been tense for decades. Among other things, the status of Western Sahara is at stake. While Morocco regards the oil-rich Western Sahara as part of its territory, the Polisario Front, an independence movement active in Western Sahara, is campaigning for independence with the support of Algeria.
The border between the two North African states has been closed since 1994. Algiers broke off relations with Rabat in 2021 after accusing the neighboring country of "hostile acts". Morocco calls the accusation unjustified.