Moroccan prosecutors opened an investigation on Friday into the “circumstances of death” of a French-Moroccan holidaymaker who was killed on Tuesday along with another young Moroccan in a border area by Algerian coast guard gunfire, an unexplained tragedy not reported in Rabat Algiers still know about it spoke out.
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The public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the causes of Bilal Kissi’s death “after his body was found on the beach of Saïdia” in northeastern Morocco, about 3 km from the border with Algeria, pointing to the Moroccan sites of Al Omk and Goud.ma.
The young holidaymaker, who lived in France, had set off from Saïdia in a personal watercraft, along with his older brother Mohamed, also Franco-Moroccan, who was able to return to the city and testify, and their cousin Abdelali Mechouar, a Moroccan citizen.
Smaïl Snabé, a friend who was also portrayed as Franco-Moroccan by the Moroccan media, was among the group of young people who each set out in a personal watercraft from the seaside resort of Saïdia, popular in summer for its long stretch of beach and beaches Water activities.
Bilal Kissi was buried on Thursday in the presence of dozens of relatives in the village of Bni Drar near Oujda, a city on the border with Algeria. This emerges from images available to the AFP news agency. In these images, a group of men can be seen carrying his remains, which are covered with a green burial leaf with embossed surahs from the Quran.
The body of Mr. Mechouar, who was killed along with Bilal Kissi, is still on the Algerian side, according to Moroccan media. They stated that Mr. Snabé was injured and arrested by the Algerian authorities.
“We buried a brother and want to recover the body of Abdelali, our cousin,” said a cousin of Bilal Kissi in a video broadcast by Al Omk. “We want to bury him with dignity so that his mother can have peace of mind,” added the cousin, whose first name was not given.
According to him, “these young people did not have drugs or steal anything, they are fine.” They had come to spend a family vacation in Saïdia. They worked in France. “One (the dead young man) left behind two children, the other a daughter,” he said.
Mohamed Kissi, who was picked up by the Moroccan navy, told the Al Omk website that they “got lost” and “landed in Algeria because they ran out of gas.”
“A black Algerian zodiac came towards us and started flying in zigzags as if they were trying to run us over,” he said. “They (the inhabitants of the zodiac) shot at us. They killed my brother and my friend. They arrested my other friend,” he said.
France confirmed the death of a Frenchman of Moroccan origin and “the detention in Algeria of another compatriot in an incident involving several of our nationals.”
“The ministry’s crisis and support center and the embassies in Morocco and Algeria are in close contact with the families of our fellow citizens” to “provide them with our support,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
The Paris prosecutor’s office told AFP that it was “informed by the Quai d’Orsay of the death of a French-Moroccan citizen near the Algerian coast” as it has jurisdiction over acts committed abroad by or against one or more French nationals be.
No official information was provided to Rabat or Algiers.
This drama is likely to reignite strong regional tensions between Algeria and Morocco, exacerbated by their antagonism over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Its borders have been closed since 1994 and Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco in August 2021, accusing Rabat of “hostile acts,” a “totally unjustified” decision, Rabat said.
At the end of July, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, reiterated his desire for a “return to normality” with Algeria and the reopening of the borders.
But Israel’s recent recognition of “Moroccan sovereignty” over the disputed territory of Western Sahara has reignited tensions with Algiers, which has denounced “foreign maneuvers” at its gates.