At least six synagogues belonging to the Igbo Jewish community of Nigeria were destroyed by soldiers last week, 9Africa News reported.
Members of the Igbo community who escaped said that two of them were arrested by soldiers who besieged the cities of Oyigbo, Etche, Iriebe and Eleme. According to eyewitnesses, the two were arrested for wearing a kippah and a Magen David, or Jewish star.
The violence broke out in the southern Nigerian state of Rivers following a student protest against police brutality in Nigeria. At least 50 people have been killed in clashes with military forces.
A majority of the Igbo community identify as Christian. Many of the community believe that they are descended from the lost Ten Tribes of Israel and practice a number of Jewish customs. A small minority of the Igbo community identify as fully Jewish, a claim which is not accepted by any mainstream denomination of Judaism.
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) organization, which seeks to secede from Nigeria, condemned the destruction of the synagogues and called for the immediate release of the two prisoners.
“Our Synagogue, ‘Beth Knesset Amud ha’Emet’ (Pillar of Truth Synagogue) in #Obigbo has been brought down with bulldozer. The very biggest synagogue in #Biafra. Very sad indeed”-Emeka. The consequences for persecution of Biafran #Jews will be dire & swift Enough said!" wrote Kanu, who identifies as Jewish.