Tourists ‘shot dead’ after entering Algerian waters on jet skis

Two jet skiers have reportedly been shot dead after losing their way off the Moroccan town of Saidia last Tuesday (29 August).

“We were low on fuel for the water scooters and were drifting. In the darkness, we found ourselves in Algerian waters,” Mohamed Kissi, a Moroccan citizen, told Le360.

“We got lost, but we kept going until we found ourselves in Algeria. We knew we were in Algeria because a black Algerian dinghy came towards us.” He says that those on board “fired at us”.

Kissi says his brother Bilal, and Abdelali Mechouer, were killed after an Algerian government boat approached them and started firing. Another of the party was wounded and detained, and Kissi says he swam away before being picked up by Moroccan authorities. He says they were attacked despite being unarmed and his brother exchanging words with them.

Some of the group have dual Moroccan-French nationality. According to France 24, two of the dual nationals decided to swim to shore after running out of petrol at dusk. One landed on a Moroccan beach, while the other set foot on Algerian territory, where he was detained by local authorities. The remaining two holidaymakers vanished without a trace, though the jet ski they shared was later recovered.

The UK Foreign Office has issued a warning for tourists.

“The land border between Algeria and Morocco is closed. Don’t attempt to cross it. Be aware that the border extends into the sea. If you are in a boat or hiring a jet ski, make sure you know where the maritime border is and remain clearly within Moroccan territorial waters. Check you have enough fuel to be able to return to shore. In August 2023, two tourists holidaying in Morocco who had allegedly strayed into Algerian waters on their jet skis were shot dead.”

There is a long history of tension between the two North African countries. The border has been closed since 1994, and diplomatic relations were cut in 2021.

Main image of Saidia Beach courtesy of Visit Morocco.

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