Israeli filmmakers, Rudy Rochman, Andrew (Noam) leibman, and Edouard David Benaym
Rochman Rudy, one of the three Israeli filmmakers detained by the Department of State Services (DSS), has claimed that the abuse they endured at the hands of the Nigerian secret police reflects the suffering of Nigeria’s Igbos.
Rochman, a Zionist activist, was arrested by the DSS in July, along with filmmaker Noam Leibman and French-Israeli journalist E. David Benaym, on suspicion of supporting the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
They were detained in Ogidi village, Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State, while filming “We Were Never Lost,” a documentary about Jewish communities in Africa, including Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, and Nigeria.
The filmmakers were reportedly held for 20 days without being charged by the Nigerian authorities in court.
According to NAN, Rudy explained in a message posted on his official Instagram profile on Saturday that they set out to convey the tale of the Igbo Jews before their unjust incarceration.
“We only managed to film for two days out of the two weeks planned in Igboland when armed militants wearing black ski masks forced us at gunpoint into a van, stripping us of our phones and passports. We didn’t see the light of day or had any form of communication with the outside world till we were released 20 days later,” he wrote.
Rudy also stressed the importance of refocusing attention on the Igbos, who have been living with the reality of 20 days of ill-treatment at the hands of Nigeria’s secret police.
“Now that we are back, it’s important to reset and focus on the Igbo Jews who’ve faced what we went through their whole lives and still live with that reality daily,” he added.
The Israeli also revealed that he and his colleagues had been barred from returning to Nigeria in the future.
Igbos have long complained about marginalization and mistreatment under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
In May, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, initiated Operation Restore Peace, a unique operational action plan to quash the insurrection in the region by the Indigenous People of Biafra and its militant wing, the Eastern Security Network.
The police said the IGP launched the special operation at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu as part of efforts targeted at returning “the South-Eastern region to its historical pride of place where its people are known to be peaceful, tolerant, innovative, industrious and entrepreneurial.”
In the same month, Buhari threatened to deal with Igbo youths over the destruction of government buildings in the region in a controversial tweet.
Before the Twitter suspension, the president promised that “those misbehaving” would “soon experience the shock of their life,” referring to his role in the 1967 Biafra war, in which over a million people were gruesomely slain.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War,” his deleted post said.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Nigerians were outraged, particularly those of Igbo descent, who saw this as genocide.