Man found in cellar 26 years after disappearance

Watch the moment Omar bin Omran was found

Source: X

A man has been rescued alive from a cellar 26 years after he went missing in a busy North African city.

In a tragic twist, Omar bin Omran, now 45, was found just 200 metres from where he grew up in the Algerian capital, Algiers.

Held captive in the neighbour’s house, he was so close that he could sometimes see his loved ones.

Authorities raided a home in the neighbourhood of Djelfa after a tip-off on social media led to a report to police. Rescuers discovered a trapdoor on the floor of the property, which was hidden under hay.

Footage from the rescue shows the moment a bearded Bin Omran was found cowering in his prison of more than two decades.

A 61-year-old man who lived at the property – and reportedly attempted to flee – was arrested on suspicion of the “heinous crime” of having kept Bin Omran captive.

Bin Omran was 17 when he left home to attend a vocational school in 1998. He was never seen again.

At the time, his distraught family thought he may have been among the 200,000 people killed in the country’s decade-long civil war between the government and Islamists.

Amazingly, the BBC reports Bin Omran had at times been able to see his family from his prison. But he was unable to call out for help “because of a spell that his captor had cast on him”, local media reports.

His mother died in 2013, having never given up hope of finding her son.

“His poor mum died while he was in captivity, without knowing what had happened to him, without knowing that all this time he was really right beside her,” a neighbour told Algerian broadcaster Bilad.

Omar bin Omran was a teenager when he vanished. Photo: Supplied

Reports say the alleged captor is also suspected of killing Bin Omran’s dog, which had hung around his house in the month after the teen disappeared.

Algerian media report that the suspect’s brother exposed him on social media over an inheritance dispute, suggesting he was involved in an abduction.

This outing tipped off Bin Omran’s family, who alerted authorities.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office received a complaint against an anonymous person claiming that the complainant’s brother, Omar bin Omran, who has been missing for about 30 years, is in the house of one of his neighbours, inside a sheepfold,” a court official said.

“Following this report, the general prosecutor ordered the national gendarmerie to open an in-depth investigation and officers went to the house in question.

“On 12 May at 8pm local time, [they] found victim Omar bin Omran, aged 45, in the cellar of his neighbour, BA, aged 61.”

Bin Omran was taken to hospital for medical and psychological care.

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