Two Kenya Airways Employees Arrested, Detained By Military In Kinshasa

Two Kenya Airways (KQ) employees have been arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa.In a statement confirming the arrest, KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka on Friday said the two staffers were apprehended by the Military Intelligence Unit in Kinshasa over “missing custom documentation on valuable cargo.” Mr. Kilavuka however faulted the authorities in Kinshasa for arresting the duo stating that they were being held contrary to a court order, adding that the cargo in question had not been uplifted or accepted by KQ.

The reason for their arrest was alleged to be missing custom documentation on valuable cargo that was to be transported on a KQ flight on April 12th, 2024. However, we wish to state that the said cargo was not uplifted or accepted by KQ due to incomplete documentation.

On April 24th, 2024, KQ filed an application in the military court for the two to be released unconditionally. The court heard the matter on April 25th, 2024, and granted KQ’s request that the two staff members be released to allow due process,” said Kilavuka.He added: “Despite the court orders, the military intelligence unit is still holding them incommunicado, yet these are civilians being held in a military intelligence facility.”According to Kenya Airways, during the arrest, the two had their phones seized, and all access to them has been denied.”On April 23rd 2024, the Kenyan embassy officials and a few KQ staff were allowed to visit them but only for a few minutes,” said Kilavuka.

On the issue of the cargo, Kilavuka maintains that the shipment “was not on the air side for transportation and, therefore, not in the possession of KQ as the logistic handler was still completing documentation before handing it over to KQ.”He adds that the cargo was still in the baggage section undergoing clearance when the security team arrived and alleged that KQ was transporting cargo without customs clearance. “All efforts to explain to the military officers that KQ had not accepted the cargo because of incomplete documentation proved futile,” said the KQ boss.”The military officers took the two employees to the military side of the air wing (DEMIAP)to record statements. They were held incommunicado until 23rd April when the Embassy officials and KQ team were allowed to visit them.”

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