Nigeria Releases Local Igbo Jewish Leader

Nigerian authorities have released Saturday an Igbo Jewish leader who was arrested nearly a month ago along with three Israeli filmmakers for allegedly aiding a separatist rebellion.

Agents of Nigeria’s internal security agency, the Department of State Services (DSS), arrested Lizben Agha along with Israeli filmmakers Rudy Rochman, Andrew Noam Leibman, and Edouard David Benaym in the Igbo village of Ogidi on July 9.

Agha was trying to help the Israelis make a documentary about the Igbo Jewish community entitled “We Were Never Lost” which explores Jewish communities around the world.

Nigerian authorities accused the Israelis along with Agha of having ties with a Biafran separatist group in Nigeria and took them at gunpoint during a Shabbat service at a local synagogue.

The filmmakers insisted that neither they nor Agha had any such political connections.

Authorities detained them for 20 days without being formally charged or given access to lawyers.

Authorities released the Israelis on July 27 with the assistance of the Israeli Embassy in Abuja.

Igbo nationalists, whose leader is Jewish, have been campaigning in recent years to secede from Nigeria and form the independent state of Biafra.

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