Algerian Man Found Alive After 26 Years of Captivity in Neighbor’s Basement


In a stunning and heartbreaking revelation, Omar Bin Omran, an Algerian man who disappeared in 1998, has been found alive in the basement of his neighbor’s house. Omar, now 45, was discovered after 26 years of captivity in the Al-Qadeed district, an area still part of his family’s neighborhood. The dramatic discovery was triggered by a social media post that hinted at a hidden room in a sheep pen owned by a man identified as BA.

Omar’s family, who had despaired during their search amidst the brutal Algerian Civil War, were overjoyed by the unexpected news. The civil war, which subsided in early 2002, had made the search for Omar particularly challenging and dangerous.

Omar vanished in 1998 at the age of 19, while attending his dream vocational school in Jalfah Province. His family, fearing he had fallen victim to the violence of rebel groups in the area, launched a frantic search across various provinces. Despite their efforts and the involvement of local police, Omar remained missing for decades.

The breakthrough came when a relative of BA, the neighbor, posted a seemingly innocuous image on social media that showed a concealed door in a sheep pen. Omar’s family took the post seriously and urged the police to investigate. On the night of May 12, 2024, police and local residents stormed BA’s house and found the hidden door, leading them to Omar.

During his captivity, Omar was kept on a pile of straw in the sheep pen. He claimed that his captor, BA, had cast a spell on him, preventing him from seeking help. Omar spent years watching his family from afar, even witnessing his father regularly visiting the mosque and learning about his mother’s death in 2013.

Omar’s family reported the disappearance to the police, who searched various provinces in Algeria. However, the ongoing Algerian Civil War, which raged from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, complicated the search. The war, a deadly conflict involving the Algerian government and various Islamist rebel groups, resulted in the deaths of an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people, mostly civilians.

The Algerian Civil War began in 1991 after the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won the first round of the elections. Fearing a loss of power, the incumbent government canceled the election process in January 1992, triggering a brutal and prolonged conflict. The war was marked by mass kidnappings, indiscriminate violence, and widespread disappearances. Omar’s family feared he had become one of the countless victims of this bloody conflict.

BA, Omar’s neighbor and captor, was a 61-year-old former civil servant who managed livestock. Before his crime was uncovered, neighbors had noticed strange behavior from BA, who lived alone but often bought food for two and refused visitors to his home. Suspicion grew when Omar’s beloved dog was found dead in front of his family’s home, killed by BA.

BA’s crime was exposed through a social media post by his brother, initially dismissed as a joke by some but taken seriously by Omar’s family. The post revealed the existence of a hidden room, leading the police to discover Omar.

Upon his rescue, Omar was taken to the local police station, where he reunited with his overjoyed family and relatives. “His brother and relatives hugged Omar and cried with indescribable joy,” reported El Khabar. Omar is currently receiving medical and psychological care to recover from his long ordeal.

Omar’s family described his captivity as a heinous crime and is demanding that BA be punished appropriately. They remain deeply grateful to the local authorities and the community for their support in finally bringing Omar back home.

The discovery of Omar Bin Omran, one of the longest kidnapping cases in modern history, brings a glimmer of hope and relief to a family that had endured decades of uncertainty and pain. It also serves as a stark reminder of the horrors and human cost of the Algerian Civil War.