Federal Budget

Teen, kidnapped 26 years ago, found in cellar 100 metres from his home

Teen, kidnapped 26 years ago, found in cellar 100 metres from his home


A video of his rescue goes viral on social media

Follow on
Follow us on Google News

(Web Desk) - Omar Bin Omran, an Algerian man who was kidnapped 26 years ago while he was on his way to vocational school, was discovered inside a hay-covered cellar at his neighbour's house, just 100 meters from his family home.

Omran, now 45, was only 19 at the time of his abduction. He was discovered by authorities on Sunday in Djelfa state.

A video of his rescue has gone viral on social media, in which Omran is seen with a beard and wearing a sweater, sitting cooped up in the narrow cellar, which is said to be at a sheep farm owned by his long-time captor.

The Djelfa Attorney General’s Office said the 61-year-old suspect, who worked as a civil servant and is believed to have lived alone, has been arrested.

According to prosecutors, Omran's family had reportedly tipped off investigators after the suspect's sibling suggested his involvement in the abduction in a social media post.

As a result, the National Gendarmerie, Algeria's law enforcement agency, re-opened the missing case, leading to investigators searching the suspect's home and finding a hay-covered trapdoor that opened up into the cellar.

The suspect was arrested after he tried to escape.

A report by the Algerian Elkhabar newspaper said while Omran's mother never gave up hope, but as time passed the family began to think that he had been a victim of the country’s civil war during the 1990s and early 2000s.

For almost a month after his disappearance, the family also noticed that their dog, who Omran was very close to, kept lingering at their neighbour's home.

Shortly after, the family found the dog's body in front of their home and it was believed to have been poisoned.

Omar's mother died in 2013.

The Elkhabar newspaper quoted Omran as saying that he used to see his family members from a window in the cellar, but was unable to call out "as if there was a compelling force inside me, preventing me".

Citing the Djelfa Attorney General’s Office, the New York Post said he was taken to a medical centre for treatment and the suspect would be tried for the “heinous crime".