No going back, We’ll tell the story of our Igbo brothers, says freed Israeli filmmakers

Rudy Rochman, a pro-Israel activist who was one of three Israeli filmmakers detained in Nigeria and eventually released after 20 days in custody, said the team would continue to tell the story of Nigeria’s downtrodden Igbo people.

After being arrested and detained by the Nigerian secret service while filming the documentary ‘We Were Never Lost,’ which aimed to explore the African Jewish experience, Israeli filmmakers Rudy Rochman, Andrew (Noam) Leibman, and Edouard David Benaym were released and immediately sent back to Israel on Wednesday, July 28.

Rochman revealed images he said were taken days after the incident in a Facebook post on Saturday.

He said; “We only managed to film for 2 days out of the 2 weeks planned in Igboland when armed militants wearing black ski masks forced us at gun point 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. 

“We set out to tell a story and unfortunately we became the story. 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. 

“Our team will pivot and an episode on the Igbos will be made. We are currently no longer allowed to enter Nigeria, but the story of our Igbo brothers and sisters there will be told.

“Many Igbos have reached out and apologized to our team for what we went through. To our Jewish Igbo family, it is not your fault! It is us who are sorry that our people did not reunite earlier.” 

A film showing their captivity in Nigeria, according to Rochman, would be released in the coming days.

The three foreigners were detained by Nigerian secret police without being charged with any offence.

Despite the release of the three Israeli filmmakers, the host of the three Israelis, Ima Lizben Agha, who was also seized on Wednesday evening, remains detained.
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