Kenyan Airways suspends Nairobi-Kinshasa flights after DRC military intelligence detains staffers

Nairobi, Kenya

Kenyan Airways (KQ) will not be operating on the Kinshasa-Nairobi route as from Tuesday because of the “unlawful detention” of its employees by Democratic Republic of Congo military intelligence.

In a statement on Monday, the airline said it won’t be able to operate since the detention affected its ability to offer customer service, ground handling, cargo activities, and generally ensure safe and secure operations.

“As a result, we reached a difficult decision to suspend flights to Kinshasa effective 30 April, 2024, until we can effectively support these flights,” KQ said.

They also pleaded with the DRC that “our staff be treated humanly and respectfully during this unlawful detention”.

To find a solution to the impasse, the matter has since been escalated to the government level, KQ said.

“We continue cooperating with the investigating agencies and the relevant government entities in both the DRC and Kenya.

The airline wants them to be released “to allow due process to be respected so that our innocent staff can return to their families and everyday lives without harassment”.

According to earlier media reports, the two employees were taken into custody on 19 April for allegedly not having sufficient customs documents for “precious” cargo.

They were held incommunicado until Kenyan embassy officials were granted access to them on 23 April.

They appeared in court on Thursday last week where the courts demanded their release.

However, the military intelligence defied the court ruling.

Neither the DRC government nor KQ mention what shipment was involved.

It was also not identified in court.

Source: news24

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