Nigerian Ivo Jewish leader releases and arrests Israeli visitors

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The leader of the Nigerian black Jewish community was released after being imprisoned for a month without charge after being arrested by three visitors from Israel.

Authorities suspected that the visitor had something to do with a separatist group that welcomed their arrival in Nigeria.

Lizben Agha, an Igbo ethnic group, was released after an appeal, including in other African countries.

Practical Jews form a small part of the Igbo population, one of the largest groups in multi-ethnic Nigeria.

Mrs. Aga has helped a trio come to her community in Ogidi to film part of the documentary.

According to her son Emmanuel, Mrs. Aga and her husband Peniel were shot at security forces from home at midnight on July 9. He says they were staying with visitors who had dual citizenship in Israel and the United States or Israel and France, and they were also taken to a detained hotel.

Emmanuel says her mother and father were released, but his mother was arrested after begging her to go with her guest to act as a mediator.

Mrs. Aga was banished to the headquarters of the Department of State (DSS) in the capital Abuja, where all four were detained.

Men say their interrogators suspected that they had something to do with a rebellion known as the indigenous people of Biafra (Ipob), who are considered by Nigeria to be a terrorist group. Ipob is trying to recreate the short-lived independent state of Biafra in the southeastern part of the country.

Its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, claims that the Igbos as a whole are descendants of the Israelites of the Bible and states that they are Jewish followers dismissed as fa├žade by mainstream Igbo Jews. ..

Map of Nigeria

State where Ipob wants to establish an independent Biafra

Kanu is awaiting a trial in Nigeria on charges of terrorism and treason. Authorities say Ipob is responsible for attacks on police stations and other public facilities in southern Nigeria. The country’s president, Muhammad Buhari, has vowed to crush the group.

Before the man was arrested, pro-Ivomedia published a photo posted on their social media by the trio when they met the Ivo Jews. The photo also showed that they were exhibiting the Sefer Torah (a holy scroll of the Jews) that they brought as a gift to the community. Pro-Ipob media has declared it a sign of Israel’s support for their separatist cause.

Voice of the Biafra newspaper showing pictures of Israelis in Nigeria

Separatist media said men’s visits show Israel’s support for a secessionist state

“We’re here,” said Rudy Rochman, a member of the group, “when I checked the phone, I found that this was spreading by word of mouth,” as part of Mossad. I did. [Israeli secret service]Sent to “Free Biafra”, but we have nothing to do with this movement. We have come purely to document the life of the Ivo Jews. “

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The three men were detained and cross-examined for 18 days before being released and deported.

Rochman says they were housed in a separate wing from Lizben Agha during detention and met her only once while seeing a doctor.

Mrs. Aga was one of the most prominent leaders of the Ivo Jews and agreed to help a man who came to film part of a documentary about the lesser-known Jewish community around the world.

She was released on bail on Saturday following local and foreign proceedings, including personal intervention by senior government officials from other African countries, for humanitarian reasons. Its identity is withheld due to political sensitivity.

Emmanuel Aga says the family does not know why Lisben was detained for 29 days.

“My mother is in poor health and I don’t know why she was arrested,” he said. “I asked the prison authorities, but they didn’t give me an answer.”

The BBC has asked Nigerian authorities for comment, but has not yet received a response.

Nigeria has about 12,000 to 15,000 mainstream Ivo Jews and is made up of about 70 active communities. More and more wart communities describe themselves as Jews, following the practice of combining elements of Judaism and Christianity. The total number of Igbo people is estimated to be between 35 and 45 million of the total population of about 211 million.

According to the Ivo Jewish tradition, the community is said to have disappeared after being captivated when the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered in the 8th century BC, one of the so-called lost ten tribes of Israel. Derived from one.

Although not officially accepted as Jews by Israel, Igbo Jews are supported by groups around the world who donate to the community, make solidarity visits and campaign for their recognition.

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