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‘Kidnapped’ Algerian man rescued after 26 years from neighbour’s cellar

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An Algerian man, who went missing as a teenager, was found alive in the cellar of his alleged kidnapper’s home after 26 years.

Omar Bin Omran left his family home in Djelfa city in 1998 to attend a vocational school and never returned. The disappearance led the 17-year-old’s family to believe that he had been killed in a civil war between the Algerian government and Islamist rebels.

Omar Bin Omran, who went missing as a teenager, was found alive in the cellar of his captive’s home after 26 years (EnnaharTv)

Mr Omran, now 45, was rescued on Sunday from the house of his alleged captor and neighbour, located just 200m from his family’s home.

The 61-year-old neighbour suspected of keeping Mr Omran captive for nearly three decades has been arrested, public prosecutors said in a statement.

“The Djelfa Attorney General’s Office informs the public that on 12 May at 8pm local time it found victim Omar B, aged 45, in the case of his neighbour, BA, aged 61,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Footage from the rescue showed Mr Omran wearing a sweater and a full beard being rescued from the basement below his neighbour’s hay-covered floor.

Mr Omran’s family reportedly tipped off law enforcement officials after the suspect’s brother suggested his sibling was involved in an abduction on social media.

Omar Bin Omran before the kidnapping (EnnaharTv)

The authorities reopened the investigation and searched the man’s house and eventually discovered a trapdoor hidden beneath hay.

Mr Omran was rushed to a medical centre for treatment, the attorney general’s office said, adding that the suspect would be taken in custody for the “heinous crime”.

The suspect has been accused of also killing Mr Omran’s dog as it kept lurking around the suspect’s house in the month after the teenager’s disappearance.

The dog’s body was found in front of Mr Omran’s family house, local media reported.

Mr Omran’s mother, who reportedly never stopped looking for her son, died in 2013.

“His 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 neighbour told Algerian broadcaster Bilad.

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