Langley man released in Nigeria
June 25, 2008 · Updated 9:48 AM
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 Cantwells 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.