Six Igbo synagogues, including the country’s biggest, were bulldozed by troops last week in Nigeria’s River State, located in the Biafra region, reports 9Africa news.
The assault occurred as the army laid siege on Iriebe, Oyigbo, Etche, and Eleme after violence erupted following a youth protest against police brutality in the African nation, 9Africa news reported citing Igbo Jewish followers who fled the attack.
At the time of the siege, at least 50 were killed and according to an eyewitness, two were arrested at one of the synagogues in Iriebe Okpulor for “wearing Kippah” and a Star of David.
The Biafra region is mainly populated by the Igbo tribe, most of whom are Christians, reports the Forward. Many Igbo think they’re descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. They implement Jewish practices while practicing their own religion. Several smaller groups actually identify as Jews themselves.
The campaign, which is calling for the secession of the former Eastern region of Nigeria is a group that calls themselves the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The group is led by Nnamdi Kanu, who identifies as Jewish and is currently exiled.
The IPOB has been outlawed.
Kanu called on Nairobi to release the two who were imprisoned and blasted the assault on the Jewish congregants. He additionally tweeted about the razing of the synagogues writing: “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!”
— Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (@MaziNnamdiKanu) November 12, 2020
The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, considers the IPOB as a terrorist organization. He also demanded a crackdown on members of the separatist group, reports Afirca9.