Monday, April 14, 2008

April 14, 2008 10:55 a.m.

Dear Diary:

By now the story is being picked up around the globe, including our local news. This is what our group sent out today:


Leslye Wood, Press Secretary, Sweet Crude Movie

Phone: 206.282.0880 / 206.915.4339


Louise Rafkin, Studio Naga

Phone: 510.928.3612


American documentary filmmakers detained in Niger Delta

SEATTLE, April 13, 2008 – Four Americans have been detained and are being held in custody against their will in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. The four, along with a Nigerian citizen, were taken into custody by the Nigerian military April 12th, while traveling by boat in Delta state in the Niger Delta.

An attorney has been retained for the group but has been denied contact with them. He has also been denied information pertaining to what charges, if any, have been filed. Certain media accounts reported that the group was detained and held for their own protection. These reports are incorrect, and were disputed by members of the team before contact with them was cut off by the authorities.

The Seattle-based group are filming Sweet Crude, a documentary about oil production in the Níger Delta. Director Sandy Cioffi, Tammi Sims, Cliff Worsham and Sean Porter entered the country legally on April 5th, having notified authorities about their intentions to film and to make a visit to a library they had helped build.

The four were also being briefed on a leadership institute planned by Joel Bisina, the Nigerian in custody with them. Bisina is a longtime peace mediator and community development expert in the region, and founder of Warri-based NGO Niger Delta Professionals for Development.

No communication has been received since Saturday April 12th, 8:30 am PDT. Contact has been made with the U.S. State Department, U.S. lawmakers, Nigerian politicians and international human rights organizations, calling for help in securing the group’s safety. Family, friends and colleagues are making a plea for their immediate release.

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We pray that good news will be posted soon.

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