Two tourists holidaying in Morocco have been shot dead by the Algerian coastguard after they reportedly strayed into Algerian waters on their jet skis.
A report, which was released on Thursday, said the French-Moroccan dual nationals, Bilal Kissi and Abdelali Merchouer, were shot dead by the Algerian coastguard on Tuesday while they were riding jet skis, said reports on Thursday.
A witness reported that they were in a group of four tourists who faced Algeria’s coastguard after taking a wrong turn while skiing at the beach resort of Saidia on Morocco’s northeastern tip.
A third member of the group was arrested by the coastguard which patrol the two states’ closed border.
The conflict between the two countries has a long history which is rooted in Morocco’s claims to the contested Western Sahara which Morocco seized in 1975. The Sahrawis, an ethnic group that inhabits the Western Sahara, from the Algeria-backed Polisario Front have sought independence for the region for decades.
The border between them was closed in 1994, and in 2021, Algeria severed diplomatic ties with Morocco, citing hostile actions from its neighbour. The dispute between two important regional players in the Arab world had disrupted planning for a summit last year.