Algeria: France Confirms Citizen Killed in Border Incident in Algeria

1 September 2023

At least one French national was killed when the group of tourists strayed into Algerian waters on a jet ski.

France on Friday confirmed the death one of its citizens in Algeria and the imprisonment of another. In a brief message, the country's foreign ministry spoke of "an incident involving several of our nationals."

On Thursday, Moroccan media reported that two French-Moroccans were shot dead by coast guards as they crossed the maritime border into Algerian waters on jet skis near the popular Moroccan seaside resort of Saidia.

However, French Foreign Ministry reported only one death without giving details of the circumstances and said another of its nationals had been jailed. Paris did not provide any information on the identity of the person allegedly killed.

The foreign ministry said its "crisis support centre and our embassies in Morocco and Algeria are in close contact with our fellow citizens' families, to whom we are offering every support."

Jet ski ride turned into nightmare

Mohamed Kissi, one of the men involved in the incident, told Reuters about the tragic jet ski ride. According to Kissi, the incident happened on Tuesday when he and the other four men were riding jet skis near Saidia and got lost straying into Algerian waters.

After dark, an Algerian ship approached the group and fired on them. Mohamed Kissi said his brother Bilal and probably another man from the group were killed. Bilal's body was found and buried by fishermen.

Algerian authorities arrested one more member of the group, Kissi said. He himself survived the incident and returned home with another man. Reuters was initially unable to independently verify the information.

Mohammed and Bilal Kissi, as well as the man who is believed to have been arrested, each have Moroccan and French citizenship, according to local media.

Tensions between Algeria and Morocco

Meanwhile, Morocco's prosecutor's has begun an investigation into the death of a French-Moroccan shot dead by Algerian coastguards, media reports said.

Relations between Rabat and Algiers have been strained for decades due to a longstanding dispute over Western Sahara.

The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994, and Algeria severed diplomatic ties in August 2021, accusing Morocco of "hostile actions." Rabat has called this decision "completely unjustified."

dh/jcg (AFP, Reuters)

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