The Foreign Office of the United Kingdom has urged British citizens travelling to Morocco to stay clear of Algerian waters after Algerian coast guards shot dead two French-Moroccan vacationers.
“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,” The Foreign Office said in its updated travel advice for Morocco.
The office noted that “the land border between Algeria and Morocco is closed,” calling on British tourists to “not attempt to cross it” and “be aware that the border extends into the sea.”
The warning comes at the heels of the recent jet ski tragedy involving four Moroccan men riding water scooters on Morocco’s Saidia beach. They reportedly lost their bearings after running out of gas.
On Tuesday, 29 August, Mohamed Kissi, a French-Moroccan, his brother Bilal, his cousin and a friend were on vacation and riding jetskis off the shores of the Moroccan town of Saidia as the sun began to set.
Kissi, who managed to escape swimming to the Moroccan shore, said a boat with the Algerian forces sign fired on the group. His brother Bilal, a French-Moroccan, and their cousin Abdelali Mechouer, a Moroccan resident in France, were killed. Their other friend, Smail Snabe, a French-Moroccan, was wounded and detained by Algerian forces.
Bilal Kissi was buried last week after his body washed up on Saidia beach. Mechouer’s family have yet to receive the remains of Abdelali.
Meanwhile, Snabe was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Algeria, according to Morocco’s National Human Rights Council (CNDH). The council has demanded Algerian authorities to hand him over.
The CNDH has condemned the Algerian authorities’ resort to gunfire as “a gross violation of human rights, regardless of the circumstances.”
Algeria’s military ministry admitted to opening fire on the jet ski riders, citing a “refusal to comply” by those killed.
Meanwhile, the Moroccan authorities have already refused to comment on the incident, calling it a judicial matter. However, the prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the incident.
Morocco and Algeria have closed their maritime borders since the 1990s because of long-running territorial disputes before their recent diplomatic rift in 2021. But deadly confrontations at sea are unusual.