French-Moroccan citizen among two jet ski tourists shot dead off coast of Algeria

France on Friday confirmed one of its citizens had been killed in Algeria, a day after media reports said two tourists were shot dead by coast guards when they strayed across the maritime border with Morocco.

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Moroccan media reported Thursday that two holidaymakers had been killed after straying across the border into Algerian waters on jet skis, near the popular Moroccan beach resort of Saidia.

The foreign ministry in Paris reported only one death without providing the circumstances, saying another of its citizens was jailed in “an incident involving several of our nationals”.

The ministry did not release the identity of the person it said had been killed.

The holidaymakers were among four men who set off from Saida with three jet skis on Tuesday, FRANCE 24 has learned. Three of them were French-Moroccan dual nationals, while the fourth man was a Moroccan citizen living in France.

Two of the dual nationals reportedly 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 incident comes as tensions are high between Rabat and Algiers, stoked by a long-running dispute over the Western Sahara territory.

The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994, and Algeria broke off diplomatic ties in August 2021, accusing Morocco of “hostile acts” – a decision Rabat called “completely unjustified”.

The French foreign ministry said its “crisis support centre and our embassies in Morocco and Algeria are in close contact with our fellow citizens’ families, to whom we are offering every support”, the ministry added.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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