France opens parallel probe into tourists killed by Algerian coastguards

France opens parallel probe into tourists killed by Algerian coastguards
France has opened an investigation into a recent incident in which two Moroccan men riding water scooters, including one French-Moroccan citizen, were allegedly shot dead by Algerian coastguards.
2 min read
05 September, 2023
The tragic event occurred when five tourists got lost at sea while jet skiing [Getty]

Paris prosecutors have opened a parallel probe into how two tourists, including one Franco-Moroccan dual citizen, were killed by shots attributed to Algerian coastguards, they told AFP Monday.

Linked to a Moroccan investigation, the French probe into voluntary homicide creates a legal framework for evidence-gathering by Paris-based detectives.

Lawyers for the families of the two dead men said separately Sunday that they plan to file a criminal complaint for murder, attempted murder, hijacking of a ship and failure to aid a person in danger.

Mohamed Kissi, a 33-year-old Franco-Moroccan, has claimed that he and three other holidaymakers got lost on a jet ski ride after setting out from Moroccan coastal resort Saidia -- close to the border with Algeria -- on August 29.

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He said they were shot at by Algerian coast guards, killing his brother Bilal Kissi, a 29-year-old father of two, and his cousin Abdelali Mechouar, 40, who had one child aged five.

A friend of theirs, Smail Snabe, was arrested by the Algerians while Mohamed Kissi himself was recovered by the Moroccan navy.

Prosecutors in northeastern Moroccan city Oujda ordered an investigation the following day into the "violent incident at sea," a judicial source told Morocco's MAP press agency.

Algeria's defence ministry said Sunday that the coast guards had intercepted "three jet skis that crossed secretly into our territorial waters".

The craft had "failed to comply and fled while carrying out dangerous manoeuvres" after an "audible warning", the ministry added.

Coastguards fired "warning shots" before "firing to force one of the jet skis to stop, while the other two fled," the ministry said, adding that the incident took place against a background of "increased activity by drug trafficking gangs and organised crime" in the border region.