Algerian Coastguard Incident: Two Dead in Jet Ski Shooting
Algeria’s coastguard made headlines recently when they fired warning shots and then directly at a group of men on jet skis who had entered Algerian waters. The incident occurred near the Moroccan coastal resort of Saidia, which borders Algeria. Here’s what we know about this tragic event.
On a fateful Tuesday, five men ventured into Algerian waters on jet skis. One of the survivors, Mohamed Kissi, recounted the horrifying encounter. According to him, their group was approached after dark by an Algerian government vessel. Instead of warnings, he claimed they heard gunfire. The consequences were devastating, with two men, Bilal, aged 29, and Abdelali Mchiouer, aged 40, losing their lives. Another member of the group, Smail Snabi, was detained by the Algerian authorities.
The Algerian defence ministry released its own account of the incident in a statement on Sunday. They stated, “After multiple attempts, shots were fired on a jet ski.” They also reported the recovery of another body with gunshot wounds on Wednesday.
“I did not hear any warning shots. I only heard gun shots directly that killed my brother Bilal,” Kissi told Reuters on Sunday.
Kissi’s version of events directly contradicts the Algerian statement. Mchiouer’s father is still waiting for his son’s body to be released for a proper burial.
A Complex Border
The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994, and the two nations have had no diplomatic relations since Algiers cut ties with Rabat in 2021. This incident adds another layer of complexity to their strained relationship. The Algerian statement mentioned, “Given that the maritime border area is witnessing intense activity by drug smuggling gangs and organized crime, Coast Guard members fired warning shots.”
The victims, Mohamed and Bilal Kissi, along with Smail Snabi, hold dual Moroccan and French nationality, as reported by local media. Morocco’s National Human Rights Council condemned the killing and called for Snabi’s release, citing his rapid sentencing to 18 months in jail. France’s Foreign Ministry has also expressed concern and is in contact with the families and authorities in Morocco and Algeria.
Bilal Kissi’s body was discovered by Moroccan fishermen and was laid to rest near the eastern Moroccan city of Oujda on Wednesday, as confirmed by his brother.
This incident highlights the complexities and challenges faced by these neighboring nations and the urgent need for a resolution to their long-standing disputes.
(This story has not been edited by Smartkhabrinews staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Reuters)