Filmmaker Rudy Rochman
Filmmaker Rudy Rochman By PR

A leader of Nigeria’s Igbo Jewish community has been freed after being jailed for 30 days without charges after she was arrested with three Israeli filmmakers.

Authorities had accused the Israelis visiting the community of having links to a separatist group that had made a statement supportive of their presence in the country, reported BBC News.

The Israeli filmmakers – Rudy Rochman, Andrew (Noam) Leibman and Edouard David Benaym – were arrested as they attempted to film a documentary about the local Jewish community. They were eventually released and are back in Israel.

Lizben Agha, who is from the Igbo ethnic group and is a leader of the Jewish community in the town of Ogibi, was arrested along with the three men and imprisoned without charges.

She was finally released after a series of appeals, including from an outside African government.

Agha had been assisting the filmmakers who had travelled to Ogibi to film scenes for their documentary on Jewish communities from around the world.

Agha and her husband Peniel were reportedly taken by security forces from their home on July 9 to the hotel where the Israelis were staying. They were all arrested at that point.

The couple’s son Emmanuel told the BBC that his parents were initially released but when his mother volunteered to go with the filmmakers to act as a mediator she too was arrested.

The four where held at the Department of State Services in the country’s capital, Abuja, accused of having ties to a separatist movement.

Agha was freed on bail over the weekend after domestic and foreign appeals on humanitarian grounds for her release.

"My mother is in poor health and doesn't know why she was arrested," Emmanuel said. "I asked the prison authorities but they did not give me an answer."

Jews are a tiny minority of the larger Igbo population of 35-45 million, one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. There are thought to be approximately 12,000 to 15,000 practicing Igbo Jews in Nigeria in 70 communities.

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