Mohammed Kessi, the brother of one of the French-Moroccan victims who were shot dead by Algerian coast guards while riding jet skis on Tuesday evening and one of the survivors of the tragedy has confided to MoroccoLatestNews following the tragedy.
Mohammed confirmed in an interview that the body of Abdelali Mechouer was still detained by Algerian authorities, while Bilal’s body was handed over to his family.
Mechouer, alongside Bilal Kessi and the other two Moroccans had mistakenly overstepped the Moroccan-Algerian maritime borders and found themselves in Algerian waters near “Marsa Ben M’hidi” while enjoying a jet-ski ride on Saidia Beach.
Mechouer and Kessi were immediately shot by Algerian border guards as soon as they noticed them, while Mohammed managed to escape with no injury.
Mohammed confirmed that they entered the Algerian coast by mistake and were drifted off Moroccan waters due by strong winds, after their jet skis ran low on gasoline.
The survivor blamed Algerian coast guards for firing on Abdelali and Bilal even though they did not try to escape when they were found.
The brother of one of the French-Moroccan victims was taken back to Moroccan shore by the Moroccan Royal guards, but the fourth young man was arrested by Algerian authorities.
One of the victims was buried yesterday in the Sidi Hazem cemetery in Beni Adrar, in the outskirts of Oujda, after his body drifted near Saidia shores.
Outrage among Moroccans
Abbas El Ouardi, professor of international law at Mohammed V University, stated, “Morocco cannot allow this heinous crime to go unnoticed,” noting that “officials will follow due process that international law frameso, because the killing in this reckless manner of two defenseless people shows that Algeria is playing wit h assumed impunity.”
“Morocco will not respond in the same way, but will resort to legal means in order to ensure justice is served to the deceased and their families.”
The professor pointed out that “spraying citizens with bullets in this way cannot be the work of an organized, self-respecting state. Rather, it is similar to the work of militias.”
This sentiment, shared by many Moroccans who were outraged by the tragic incident, was echoed by the Moroccan Association for Citizenship and Human Rights, who described the killing as “a full-fledged international crime and a heinous violation of the Geneva Convention regarding the Protection of Civilian Persons.”
In a statement, the association called on the Moroccan state to “take all legal measures at the level of international humanitarian law,” and “to exercise restraint and not be drawn into knee-jerk reactions.”
The Moroccan Association highlighted that “international humanitarian law is based on a set of basic principles that were violated during this crime, especially the principle of humanity, the principle of proportionality, the principle of military necessity, as well as the principle of distinction and the principle of protection.”
The Commission condemned “this criminal act, whose perpetrators and their border guard leaders must not escape punishment and accountability at the international level,” it said that it was considering “taking all legal measures nationally and internationally, including writing to the Secretary-General of the United Nations against this assassination, which threatens peace and stability in the region.”
The Oujda public prosecutor’s office initiated, on August 29, an investigation based on the testimony of an individual who alleges to have been victim, along with 4 others, of a violent incident at sea, reported MAP today.
Mustapha Baitas, the official government spokesperson, stressed during the weekly conference press on Thursday that “this issue is currently within the jurisdiction of judicial authorities.”