Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Algerian man missing for more than 25 years ‘held captive by neighbour’

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An Algerian man who went missing more than 25 years ago and presumed dead has been found after he was held captive by a neighbour.

Omar bin Omran was discovered in a hole in the ground covered with hay roughly 200 yards from his family home in Djelfa.

The victim told his rescuers he had at times seen his family from his prison, but claimed he had been unable to call out for help “because of a spell that his captor had cast on him”, local media reported.

A video shared on social media purporting to show the moment he was discovered by security forces shows Mr bin Omran, with a long beard and appearing to shiver as he is helped out of a cellar, hidden under bales of hay.

Mr bin Omran was 19 years old when he vanished in 1998 on his way to a nearby training centre.

A heinous act

His disappearance came in the middle of a decade-long civil war between the government and Islamist rebel groups. His family feared he had been among an estimated 200,000 killed, or as many as 20,000 kidnapped, during the brutal conflict.

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