Israeli Foreign Ministry has confirmed the arrest of three Israelis shooting a documentary in Anambra State southeast Nigeria last week. The arrest may trigger off diplomatic conflict between the two countries, diplomatic sources say.
This is coming at a time when the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who enjoys strong ties with Israel is in detention Abuja, after his highly controversial abduction by Kenya authorities before handing over him to Nigeria security agencies through an Internationally acclaimed undiplomatic channel last month.
According to media reports, Nigerian authorities arrested and interrogated the trio on suspicion that they had come into contact with Biafran separatists, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The Israeli Embassy in Abuja is following the case closely and is in contact with Nigerian authorities, according to the Foreign Ministry.
One of the Israelis arrested is Rudy Rochman, a Zionist activist with almost 95,000 followers on Instagram. Making the flight with him were filmmaker Noam Leibman and French-Israeli journalist E. David Benaym.
The Israelis were in Nigeria to film “We Were Never Lost,” a documentary exploring Jewish communities in African countries such as Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, and Nigeria.
They took off from Ben Gurion Airport on July 5 and landed in Nigeria the next day.
Tribes of Israel X Shiviti Menorah custom piece created by @thejerusalemscribe and inspired by @wewereneverlost.com
According to locals, the crew was detained at a synagogue during Friday night services in the Igbo village of Ogidi by Nigeria’s secret police and taken to Abuja.
The filmmakers were aware of the political sensitivity surrounding the filming of the Igbo community. Last Thursday, the We Were Never Lost Facebook page stressed: “We do not take any position on political movements as we are not here as politicians nor as a part of any governmental delegations.”
The group met last week with Igbo leader Eze Chukwuemeka Eri and presented him with a framed Shiviti made in Jerusalem.
Honored by Igbo King Eze Chukwuemeka Eri and invited to his palace. I presented him a gift from Israel, a shiviti…
Rochman also presented another Igbo community with a Torah scroll whose cover was designed by British-Israeli street artist Solomon Souza