Kenya Airways Staff Members Detained In DR Congo Finally Released, Flights To Resume

Kenya Airways Staff Members Detained In DR Congo Finally Released, Flights To Resume

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Two Kenya Airways staff members who were detained in Democratic Republic of Congo in late April have been released, a senior Kenyan foreign ministry official and the airline’s chief executive said on Monday.

The airline’s flights to Congo, which had been suspended in late April, would now resume, Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka, said in a statement.

Congo’s military intelligence detained two of the airline’s staff on April 19, allegedly because of missing customs documentation on some valuable cargo. The company said it had not taken possession of the cargo because the shipper’s paperwork was incomplete.

The two were detained despite a court order asking for their release, which prompted the airline to suspend its flights, saying the detention of the employees had made it difficult for the airline to support the flights.

One of the staff members was Kenyan, the other Congolese.

“Deeply grateful to inform that Lydia Mbotela, KQ Manager in DRC, has just been released by the authorities in Kinshasa,” Korir Sing’oei, Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry principal secretary, said on social media platform X.

Kenya Airways said Mbotela’s Congolese colleague had also been released.

“Kenya Airways confirms that military authorities in Kinshasa have unconditionally released our two employees…” Kilavuka said.

Kenya Airways had said last week that it was cooperating with investigating agencies and government entities in Congo and Kenya to ensure the matter was resolved.

The incident sparked anger in Kenya, with the head of a powerful parliamentary committee calling it a breach of diplomatic rules.

“This is a serious infringement of the rights of the two Kenyans and a worrying breach of the diplomatic principles upon which… Kenya-DRC relations are founded,” Nelson Koech, chair of a parliamentary committee covering defense, intelligence and foreign relations, said last week.

The affair also creates further diplomatic tensions between Nairobi and Kinshasa, despite growing economic ties.

In December last year, DRC recalled its Kenya ambassador after former head of the electoral commission, Corneille Nangaa, announced in Nairobi that he had joined forces with the M23 rebels to create a new political alliance.

In recent years, Kenyan banks like Equity Bank and the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) have entered the DRC market while business conferences to spark further Kenyan investment have followed. an accessible web community

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