26 years missing: Algerian man found alive in neighbour’s cellar

Algerian, Omar bin Omran, kidnapped, neighbours cellar

The Algerian civil war was the cause of 200,000 deaths and 20,000 kidnappings; the family of Omar bin Omran assumed that he was one of the many who had lost their lives during the “Black Decade”.

Mr bin Omran was found in a neighbour’s sheepfold, beneath haystacks on 12th May, the BBC reported.

For 26 years, Mr bin Omran had been held captive by a 61-year-old Algerian man just 200 metres from his family home in northern Algeria.

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Officials restrained and arrested Mr bin Omran’s captor after he attempted to flee the scene.

A court official revealed that the national gendarmerie opened an “in-depth investigation and officers went to the house in question…[they] found victim Omar bin Omran, aged 45, in the cellar of his neighbour, BA, aged 61.”, after a complaint by an anonymous person was made to the public prosecutor’s office.

However, Al Jazeera reported that Mr bin Omran’s rescue came about due to a sibling dispute between the suspect and his brother.

Tensions over familial inheritance led the suspect’s brother to post revealing information on social media.

Although Mr bin Omran is receiving medical and psychological care, he told his rescuers a heartbreaking truth.

Mr bin Omran revealed that he could sometimes see his family from afar, but he was unable to call out to them for help as his captor had cast a “spell” on him to prevent him from doing so.

Omar bin Omran was just 19-years-old when he was kidnapped by his neighbour. The now 45-year-old will never have the chance to be reunited with his mother as she passed away in 2013.

In December last year, one of Algeria’s civil war instigators, Gen. Khaled Nezzar died at the age of 86. Nezzar was part of the 1990s junta ruling that led with an iron fist, escalating a campaign of repression and bloodshed of Islamist opponents.

BBC/Al Jazeera


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