A Moroccan guy has spoken out about the day he and three other tourists got lost and sailed into Algerian waters, thinking they were in Moroccan waters. The Algerian coastguard allegedly opened fire on them.
After the incident, only Mohamed Kissi made it back to safety. Two of his close friends, including one he considered a brother, were killed, while a third may still be in Algerian custody.
This is what Mr. Kissi told the French channel BFM. ‘They charged, and then they started shooting behind us,’ he claimed.
Morocco’s territorial claims in the Western Sahara have been at odds with those of its neighbor for a very long time.
In 1994, the border between the two countries was officially closed, and Algeria cut diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2016. Rabat strongly refuted the claim that Morocco had been acting unfriendlyly.
On Tuesday, the armed men ambushed a group of four tourists leaving the Moroccan town of Saidia on two jet skis.
Mr. Kissi described how they became lost as night set, but realised they were in Algerian territory when they saw boats belonging to the Algerian coastguard approaching them. He said that they had stumbled into Algerian territory by mistake.
To paraphrase, “They charged into us,” he said. “We were totally unprepared.” His sibling Bilal signalled that they should turn around.
The shooting in Morocco sparked outrage after a fisherman posted a video online showing a victim floating in the water. Bilal Kissi, a French citizen at the time, lived there. His burial took place on Thursday. Abdelali Mechouar has been identified as the second victim. Le360, a Moroccan news outlet, reports that his body is still in Algeria.
It was reported on Wednesday that Smail Snabe, who also holds French citizenship, met with an Algerian prosecutor; however, no details were released concerning the nature of this encounter.
The nearly 2,000 km (1,242 mi) of shared border that Algeria and Morocco share has been a source of friction between the two countries ever since Algeria achieved its independence from French colonial power.
In 1994, Islamist militants attacked a hotel in the historic Moroccan city of Marrakesh, prompting officials to close the establishment for security reasons.
lineThe Roots of the Moroccan-Algerian ConflictWhere do people have different opinions? Since the time of French occupation, the two countries have been at odds over their common boundary; in 1963, this dispute escalated into open hostilities.
What’s happened after that? The rift in relations has never been bridged. The Polisario Front, which seeks independence for Western Sahara from Morocco, has Algeria’s backing. What are the repercussions of this? There is no legitimate direct trade between the two countries due to the long border that extends through the Sahara Desert, which is still rigidly enforced.Read up on Western Sahara to broaden your knowledge.”I’m so frustrated that the border is closed between Morocco and Algeria right now.”