Family Demands Body of Moroccan Jet Ski Driver Killed in Algeria
Unexpected Deaths Stir International Tensions
In a tragic incident that has since sparked international controversy, two Moroccan jet skiers lost their lives in seawaters claimed by Algeria from gunfire that is allegedly by Algerian coast guards. The fatalities occurred on August 29, and victims included Abdelali Mechouar, a Moroccan residing in France, and his French-Moroccan cousin, Bilal Kissi. Another individual present during the incident, Smail Snabe, was wounded and detained in Algeria.
The deceased were reportedly lost on jet skis at the time of the incident. The corpse of Kissi was discovered on the Moroccan side of the border, but the retrieval of Mechouar’s body has been significantly delayed, causing anguish to his grieving family.
A Family in Mourning Appeals for Rapid Response
“We have zero information on the body of our son,” lamented Mostafa, Mechouar’s father. “We want the process to be accelerated so we can grieve.” The family has approached corresponding governmental agencies, but the seeming indifference has left them feeling helpless and frustrated. Their French lawyer, Hakim Chergui, reported that their efforts have arrived at a standstill and that the appropriate authorities have remained nonresponsive for a week.
A direct appeal to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has also been lodged by the Mechouar family, who requested prompt restitution of Mechouar’s body. This plea follows the opening of investigations by the prosecutor’s offices in Oujda,eastern Morocco, and in France.
Algerian Defence Ministry Responds to Accusations
The Algerian defence ministry issued a statement on September 3, asserting that its security personnel had fired upon the jet skiers only after repeated audible warnings had been ignored. The statement outlined that their forces attempted to command the skiers to halt several times before resorting to gunfire. According to the ministry, warning rounds were initially fired, but the vehicular operators elected to flee, forcing further action.
This incident has managed to strain already tense relations between the North African nations, whose diplomatic ties were severed by Algiers in August. The termination of these relations was attributed by Algiers to alleged “hostile acts” by Morocco, an accusation that Morocco dismisses as “completely unjustified”. Meanwhile, Rabat has yet to release an official statement regarding the incident.
As this distressing saga continues to unfold, the dispute over the Western Sahara territory has only further exacerbated the existing tension between the nations. The impact of this single incident continues to ripple, reiterating the high-level contentiousness that continues to pervade the region.
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