Two holidaymakers were killed on Tuesday (August 29th) by Algerian coast guards while they had lost their way on a jet-ski in an Algerian maritime area on the border with Morocco, according to a witness quoted by Moroccan media. The France confirmed that one of them was a Franco-Moroccan.
According to information gathered by France 24, four men – three Franco-Moroccans and a Moroccan living in France – left Tuesday from the marina of Saïdia, a seaside resort in the northeast of the country very popular in the summer, especially known for its long beach and water activities, with three jet skis. At nightfall, they run out of gas. Two of them decide to swim: the first, Franco-Moroccan, arrives on a Moroccan beach; the second, also Franco-Moroccan, arrives on an Algerian beach, where he is arrested by the Algerians. The last two holidaymakers, a Franco-Moroccan and a Moroccan, who remained on the same jet ski, disappeared, their jet-ski being found later.
Paris confirmed, Friday, September 1, the death of a Frenchman and the incarceration of another national in Algeria. The latter was presented Wednesday before an Algerian prosecutor, according to the Moroccan news site Le360.
Borders closed since 1994
This tragedy is likely to revive the sharp regional frictions between Algeria and Morocco, exacerbated by their antagonism over the disputed territory of Western Sahara. However, neither Rabat nor Algiers immediately reacted publicly.
Their borders have been closed since 1994 and Algeria severed diplomatic ties with Morocco in August 2021, accusing Rabat of "hostile acts", a decision "completely unjustified" according to Rabat.
Israel's recent recognition of "Moroccan sovereignty" over the disputed territory of Western Sahara has further heightened tensions with Algiers, which has denounced "foreign maneuvers" on its doorstep.
Questioned Thursday by the local press, the spokesman of the Moroccan government, Mustapha Baïtas, made no comment, limiting himself to answering that it is "a case that falls within the competence of the judiciary".
No confirmation could be obtained on the Algerian side immediately.
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