Morocco launches probe into Algeria jet ski killing: report

Relatives carry the body of Bilal Kissi during his funeral in Saidia, Morocco (-)
Relatives carry the body of Bilal Kissi during his funeral in Saidia, Morocco (-)

Morocco has begun an investigation into the death of a French-Moroccan after he and another Moroccan on jet skis were shot dead by Algerian coastguards, media reports said Friday.

The French foreign ministry in Paris reported only one death without providing the circumstances, saying another of its citizens had been jailed in "an incident involving several of our nationals".

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

In Morocco, the prosecutor's office began investigating the death of one of the young men "after the discovery of his body on the beach at Saidia", the Al Omk website reported.

Bilal Kissi was buried on Thursday in Bni Drar village near Oujda, a city bordering Algeria, images obtained by AFP showed.

He and his brother Mohamed, their Moroccan cousin Abdelali Mechouar and their friend Smail Snabe, also said to be French-Moroccan, had left Saidia on jet skis on Tuesday.

Saidia is a popular summer seaside resort near the border with Algeria and is known for its long beach and water sports.

"We got lost but we kept going until we found ourselves in Algeria," Mohamed Kissi was quoted as saying by Al Omk on Thursday.

"We knew we were in Algeria because a black Algerian dinghy came towards us" and those on board "fired at us".

After the shooting, Mohamed Kissi was able to get back to Morocco and report what had happened.

Mechouar's body is still in Algeria, Moroccan media said, adding that Snabe had been wounded and was being detained by the authorities there.

"We buried a brother and want Abdelali's body back. He's our cousin," a video released by Al Omk showed a cousin of Bilal Kissi as saying.

"These young people weren't involved in drugs and they hadn't stolen anything. They are of good standing and were only here on a family holiday" from France where they worked, the cousin said.

"One (of those who died) left two children, the other a daughter," he added.

Mohamed Kissi told authorities on his return to Moroccan waters that the four jet skiers had got lost and had run out of fuel.

There has been no official comment from either Algeria or Morocco about the incident which comes against a backdrop of increased tensions exacerbated by their antagonism over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.