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Kenya Airways Suspends Flights to Kinshasa After Two Employees Were ‘Unlawfully Detained’ and Held Incomunicado By Congo’s Military Police

Kenya Airways Suspends Flights to Kinshasa After Two Employees Were ‘Unlawfully Detained’ and Held Incomunicado By Congo’s Military Police

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Kenya Airways says it has been forced to suspend flights to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after two of its employees in the country were detained by military police and held incommunicado after the authorities accused them of failing to complete customs paperwork for some valuable cargo.

The two ground workers have been held ever since their arrest on April 19, and Kenyan embassy officials and airline staff have only been allowed to visit them once, for a few minutes, on April 23.

Despite a military court ordering the release of the two employees on April 25, they remain held in custody in a military intelligence facility without access to consular support. Kenya Airways has been unable to speak to its two employees since April 23.

As a result of the continued detention of the two workers, Kenya Airways said on Monday that it was “unable to support our flights” to Kinshasa and that, as a result, it had “reached a difficult decision to suspend flights to Kinshasa effective 30th April 2024 until we can effectively support these flights.”

“The continued detention of our employees has made it difficult for us to supervise our operations in Kinshasa, which include customer service, ground handling, cargo activities, and generally ensuring safe, secure, and efficient operations,” the airline said in a statement:

It continued: “We also ask that our staff be treated humanely and respectfully during this unlawful detention.”

Kenya Airways chief executive Allan Kilavuka insists that the two workers have not done anything wrong and that the airline had actually refused to accept the cargo until the relevant documentation was completed by the handling agent.

Military police, however, accused Kenya Airways of trying to transport the cargo without the proper customs clearance and took the two employees to the military side of Kinshasa Airport, where they were made to give statements before being arrested.

Kilavuka says he is “perturbed” by the actions of the DRC military and considers it “harassment”.


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