Algerian man missing for 26 years found captive in neighbour’s cellar

Police report that a man who disappeared in 1998 was found being held by a 61-year-old neighbor just a few minutes from his home.

An Algerian man who went missing in 1998 during the country’s civil war has been found alive in his neighbor’s cellar 26 years later, according to authorities.


The country’s Ministry of Justice announced on Tuesday that the man, identified as Omar bin Omran or Omar B, disappeared at the age of 19 and was long presumed to have been kidnapped or killed.


Earlier this week, he was discovered alive at 45 years old, having been held captive by a neighbor in a sheepfold concealed by haystacks just 200 meters from his former home in Djelfa, northern Algeria. The ministry confirmed that an investigation into the “heinous” crime is ongoing and that the victim is receiving medical and psychological care.

Police detained the alleged captor, a 61-year-old doorman, after he attempted to flee. The kidnapping came to light after the suspect’s brother posted revealing information on social media amidst an inheritance dispute between the siblings.

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


The victim’s mother passed away in 2013, with the family still believing he was likely dead. Algerian media reported that bin Omran told his rescuers he could occasionally see his family from afar but felt incapable of calling out due to a “spell” his captor had cast on him.

Written by Telha

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