Langley man released in Nigeria

Joel Bisina, a Nigerian citizen and Langley resident, has been released from Nigerian custody along with four Seattle-based filmmakers.

Bisina and the filmmakers were arrested Saturday by the Nigerian military. They were visiting the African nation to finish shooting scenes for "Sweet Crude," a documentary of the environmental exploitation of the Niger Delta by oil interests.

Bisina, a former resident of the Niger Delta who has lead humanitarian efforts in the Niger Delta, was released at approximately 8 p.m. Wednesday in Nigeria.

"I'm thrilled," said Mary Ella Keblusek, his wife.

"We still haven't heard from them, though, so that is a little concerning," she added.

The film crew arrived on Nigerian soil on April 5 to complete "Sweet Crude," a documentary about the impact of oil production on the Niger Delta. On April 12, they were taken into custody at a military checkpoint and then transferred to Abuja.

The release came a day after after U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., had pressed for their freedom.

Bisina and the four filmmakers were turned over to American Embassy personnel in Abuja.

The U.S. Ambassador in Abuja told Cantwell’s office that the filmmakers — including director Sandi Cioffi, producer Tammi Simms, and photographers Sean Porter and Cliff Worsham — were picked up by a van from the detention center where they were being held and taken to a hotel for processing by Nigerian authorities.

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