14th July, 2021
Families of the three Israeli filmmakers arrested by the DSS in Nigeria last week have spoken about their mission in Nigeria.
The DSS picked them up, on suspicion that they had come into contact with the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) members and were supportive of their separatist campaign.
But family members of one of the men stressed to the Times of Israel that the allegations were entirely unfounded.
They said IPOB social media accounts took advantage of the Israelis’ trip to claim that the three were supporting IPOB.
The Times said the Israeli Embassy in Abuja is following the case closely and is in contact with Nigerian authorities, citing 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.
The crew was detained at a synagogue during Friday night services in the Igbo village of Ogidi by the DSS and taken to Abuja.
The filmmakers were aware of the political sensitivity surrounding the filming of the Igbo community, the family members said.
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.