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133 Jewish worshipers held captive in detention facilities across Nigeria

At least 133 Jewish worshipers arrested in synagogues and their homes in southeastern Nigeria are being unlawfully held in police custody and prisons across Nigeria.

The adherents were arrested between February 2020 and September 2021, said Rabbi Uke Yaakov, who revealed that they are accused of having links with the pro-Biafra group— the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

“The 133 we know so far are from the names we have collected from most of the destroyed synagogues and residents. Many of them were arrested during a raid on synagogues, while few were arrested at home,” said Yaakov, who heads a synagogue in Anambra.

He added that “few of those detained have died in custody while the whereabouts of few others is still unknown.”

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Yaakov described the military raids on the synagogue as a violation of rights of religion, saying it is wrong to believe that synagogues in Nigeria are owned by separatists.

“If an attack on synagogues and worshipers in the southeast is justifiable, why haven’t soldiers started attacking mosques and Muslims in the north because Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists are Muslims?  You see, the government’s belief that the synagogue and its adherents have ties to IPOB is false,” the rabbi said.

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In November 2021, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) revealed that it had discovered 95 civilians from the south-eastern region illegally detained in Kaduna prisons, declaring that 257 others were still missing.  .

Intersociety said the victims were abducted in Imo and Rivers states and accused of being IPOB members and Jewish adherents suspected of masterminding the violence that erupted when security agents killed  peaceful protesters during a protest against police brutality in Nigeria.

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“The number of deaths among the 357 is likely to be in scores or dozens,” said Intersociety.


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