Dozens of Moroccans on Monday gathered outside the parliament in Rabat to denounce “the crime committed by the Algerian state” after two holidaymakers jet skiing in Morocco were shot dead by the Algerian coastguard on Friday.
The holiday makers were alleged to have strayed across the maritime border between the two Mediterranean countries.
Algeria said Sunday its security forces had opened after the group of jet skiers ignored warning shots and refused to comply with orders to stop. “During a security patrol inside our territorial waters, a coastguard unit intercepted on Tuesday at 7:47 pm (18:47 GMT), three jet skis that clandestinely entered our territorial waters,” a defence ministry press release said.
Hicham Mellioui, member of the Moroccan League for Citizenship and Human Rights at the rally in Rabat on Monday called on the “Moroccan government to take a very firm stance in the face of these crimes”. “Whether through declarations, through possible actions before international bodies, to challenge them (Algeria), at least in the media, with official statements, with diplomatic acts” Mellioui said.
Another member Thami Belmaalam said Moroccan and international associations will be filing applications with the international courts tomorrow. “A letter will be sent to the UN Secretary-General for the same reason.”
Legal action –
Lawyers for two men shot dead in the incident plan to file a complaint in France. One was French-Moroccan and the other held a residence permit in France.
Reports from Morocco said French-Moroccan tourist Bilal Kissi, 29, and his Moroccan cousin Abdelali Mechouar, 40, were killed.
A third man, Smail Snabe, was wounded and detained in Algeria, according to media reports in Morocco on Friday. Kissi’s brother Mohamed, who had also been in the group, said they got lost and ran out of fuel after leaving the Moroccan resort of Saidia, near the border with Algeria.
He said he managed to leave the area after the incident and was picked up by the Moroccan navy. Bilal Kissi’s body was recovered on Saidia beach on the Moroccan side of the border.
Saidia is a popular Moroccan summer resort known for its long beach and water sports. Kissi was buried on Thursday in Bni Drar village near Oujda, in the presence of dozens of relatives.
Sunday’s statement from the defence ministry was the first official reaction from Algeria to Tuesday’s incident. In Morocco, the prosecutor’s office in the city of Oujda has opened an investigation, a judicial source told the official Moroccan news agency MAP on Friday.
The family of the two tourists killed are to launch a legal action in France, their lawyers announced on Sunday.
Hakim Chergui, who is acting for the families of the victims, said the legal action would be submitted on Monday or Tuesday.
They are accusing the Algerian authorities of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, the hijacking of a vessel and failure to assist a person in danger.