Missing Algerian Man Rescued From Neighbour’s Basement 30 Years After

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An Algerian man, abducted as a teenager and held captive for nearly three decades, was found in a neighbour’s basement, just 300 feet from the victim’s family home.

Omar Bin Omran was rescued on Sunday, May 12, 2024, from the home of his longtime captor in the Algerian city of Djelfa. The 45-year-old victim was found alive in the 61-year-old homeowner’s basement, beneath a hay-covered floor in what appeared to be a sheep pen.

According to a statement from public prosecutors in Djelfa, “The Djelfa Attorney General’s Office informs the public that on May 12 at 8pm local time it found victim Omar B, aged 45, in the case of his neighbour, B.A., aged 61.” Omar was just 17-year-old when he vanished without a trace on his way to a vocational school and was allegedly hidden in his neighbour’s property, just yards from his family’s home.

The abductor, who worked as a government employee, lived alone at the property. Local reports indicated that the cellar where Omar was found was a well on a sheep farm.

Omar’s family had presumed him dead after his disappearance during Algeria’s civil war between the government and various Islamist rebel groups. At the time, his family noticed that his dog lingered outside the accused neighbor’s house, unaware that Omar was trapped inside. About a month later, the dog was found dead, believed to have been poisoned by the abductor.

Despite the years without any trace of Omar, his mother refused to believe he had died in the civil war. She passed away in 2013 with one last wish: “Please, do not stop searching for Omar. I am sure he is still alive,” she said, according to the New York Post. Some reports revealed that Omar knew about his mother’s death from his captor.

Omar’s whereabouts were discovered after the suspect’s brother posted on social media about the abduction during a dispute over inheritance. This post led the victim’s family to tip off investigators. A court official in Djelfa stated, “Following this report the General Prosecutor of the Court of Idrisiya in the province of Djelfa ordered the National Gendarmerie to open an in-depth investigation and officers went to the house in question.”

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered that the victim receive medical and psychological treatment, and the suspect will be presented to the Public Prosecutor’s Office immediately after the completion of the investigation,” he added.

Investigators eventually found Omar trapped in the 61-year-old neighbor’s house. “The perpetrator of this heinous crime will be put through a trial of severity,” officials assured.

Some neighbours expressed sadness that Omar’s mother passed away without knowing her son was alive. “(Omar’s) 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 neighbor told Algerian TV station Bilad.

Omar is now receiving medical and psychological evaluations following his rescue. He told his family that he sometimes saw them walking by through a window in the suspect’s home but felt unable to call out due to a sense of being under some kind of spell.

The 61-year-old homeowner was arrested following the rescue, bringing an end to Omar’s nearly 30-year ordeal.

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