Nigerian Igbo Jewish leader arrested with Israeli visitors freed


A leader of the Igbo Jewish community in southeastern Nigeria was released after being held by authorities for almost a month, diplomatic sources in Nigeria told the Times of Israel.

Lizben Agha was arrested the same day as three Israeli filmmakers in the Igbo village of Ogidi on July 9 by masked agents of Nigeria’s internal security agency, the Department of State Services.

The Israelis, taken at gunpoint in a local synagogue, were suspected of contact with Biafran separatists in the southeast of the country and held for 20 days without access to lawyers and without being formally charged.

The filmmakers stressed that neither they nor Agha had any connection whatsoever to separatists or any political movement. Agha had been helping the Israelis film an episode on the Igbo Jewish community.

When the Israelis were initially taken for what they were told would be a short interview, Agha asked to join them to mediate with Nigerian authorities.

Her insistence on remaining with the trio likely caused her to be arrested as well, one of the filmmakers said.

Rudy Rochman, a pro-Israel activist with almost 95,000 followers on Instagram; filmmaker Andrew Noam Leibman; and French-Israeli journalist Edouard David Benaym were in Nigeria to film “We Were Never Lost,” a documentary exploring Jewish communities in African countries such as Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda and Nigeria. Their July trip was focused on the Igbo community.—Agencies

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