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Kenya Airways protests over staff held in DR Congo

Friday April 26, 2024

Kenya Airways (KQ) has accused the Democratic Republic of Congo's military of holding two of its employees since last week, despite a court ruling to release them.

The two were arrested by the DR Congo's military intelligence unit last Friday over alleged missing custom documentation on "valuable" cargo, KQ said in a statement.

The airline said its staff were detained despite not having accepted the goods in question.

"The logistic handler was still completing documentation before handing it over to KQ," Allan Kilavuka, the airline's CEO wrote.

"All efforts to explain to the military officers that KQ had not accepted the cargo because of incomplete documentation proved futile."

On Tuesday, Kenyan embassy officials and a team from the airline were allowed to briefly visit the detainees.

KQ said that on Thursday a Congolose military court granted the airline's request to have the employees released as investigations continued.

The employees' phones were seized during the arrest and they have no means of communicating with the outside world, according to KQ.

"Despite the court orders, the military intelligence unit is still holding them incommunicado, yet these are civilians being held in a military intelligence facility," Mr Kilavuka said.

"We are perturbed by this action targeting innocent staff and consider it harassment targeting Kenya Airways' business."

It is unclear what the cargo in question comprised and authorities in DR Congo are yet to comment on the matter.


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