Algerian missing for 26 years found held in neighbour's home

Algerian missing for 26 years found held in neighbour's home
An Algerian man who was missing for 26 years was later found captive in a neighbour’s cellar, according to Algerian authorities.
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An Algerian family stands at their apartment's balcony, as a police helicopter is flying over, Algiers City 09 January 2006. AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

An Algerian man who had been missing for 26 years has been found in his neighbour's house, just a few minutes' walk away, the country's justice ministry said Tuesday.

The man only identified as Omar B. had vanished at the age of 19 during the Algerian Civil War in 1998, and his family assumed he had been kidnapped or killed.

Now aged 45, he was found amid haystacks only about 200 metres (yards) away in the city of Djelfa after the captor's brother aired grievances on social media, reportedly due to an inheritance dispute.

The alleged culprit, a 61-year-old doorman at the municipality in the nearby town of El Guedid, was taken into custody after attempting to flee, the ministry said.

Algerian media reported that the victim said he had been unable to call out for help "because of a spell that his captor had cast on him".

The ministry said the investigation was still ongoing, adding that the victim was receiving medical and psychological care after the crime it described as "heinous". 

Algeria's brutal civil war, which began in 1992 when the military staged a coup and annulled elections which the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) were on the verge of winning.

The war lasted until 2000 and claimed an estimated 200,000 lives. The Algerian army has been accused of being behind horrific massacres which were blamed on Islamic extremists.