Algerian-Moroccan Border Tensions Escalate: Tourist Shot at by Algerian Coastguard

In a shocking turn of events, a Moroccan tourist has described how they were shot at by the Algerian coastguard while crossing into Algerian waters. The incident resulted in the death of two individuals, including the brother of the survivor. The survivor, Mohamed Kissi, has reported the incident to Moroccan authorities and an investigation has been initiated to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting. This incident has further escalated tensions between the two nations, which have a history of conflict and disputes over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

According to Mr. Kissi’s account, the incident occurred when he and three other tourists embarked on a jet ski journey from the Moroccan resort of Saidia. As night fell, they lost their way and unintentionally entered Algerian territory. Upon realizing their mistake, they encountered boats from the Algerian coastguard. Instead of issuing a warning or escorting them back, the coastguard opened fire at the jet skis, resulting in the deaths of two individuals. Mr. Kissi managed to escape the barrage of bullets and reach safety.

This incident has sparked outrage and anger in Morocco, especially after a video surfaced showing the lifeless body of one of the victims floating in the sea. The deceased individuals, Bilal Kissi and Abdelali Mechouar, had both lived in France. Bilal Kissi’s body was laid to rest in Morocco, while Abdelali Mechouar’s remains are still in Algeria.

The shooting incident has once again brought attention to the long-standing border disputes between Algeria and Morocco. The border, which stretches nearly 2,000km through the Sahara Desert, has been a constant source of tension since both nations gained independence from French colonial rule. The dispute mainly revolves around Morocco’s claims to the Western Sahara and Algeria’s support for the Polisario Front, a group fighting for the independence of Western Sahara from Moroccan control.

As a result of this ongoing dispute and the recent shooting incident, the border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994. This closure has severely restricted legal trade and communication between the two neighboring countries. Diplomatic ties were severed by Algeria two years ago, further deepening the hostility between the two nations.

In response to the shooting incident, Morocco launched an investigation to determine the circumstances and hold those responsible accountable. However, Algeria has not yet commented on the incident. The tense situation adds another chapter to the strained relations between the two countries, making it imperative for both sides to find a peaceful resolution and promote dialogue instead of resorting to violence.

The international community has been closely following the tensions between Algeria and Morocco, particularly due to the potential ramifications for regional stability. The dispute over Western Sahara has remained unresolved for decades, and it continues to pose challenges to peace and security in the region.

In conclusion, the shooting incident involving a Moroccan tourist being fired upon by the Algerian coastguard highlights the deep-rooted tensions and border disputes between the two nations. This incident has further strained their already fragile relationship and raises concerns about regional stability. It is crucial for both Morocco and Algeria to engage in open dialogue, find a peaceful resolution to their disputes, and prioritize the well-being and safety of their citizens.