2 Kenya Airways Staff Arrested, Detained By Military In Kinshasa Congo

Two Kenya Airways (KQ) employees found themselves in a precarious situation in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they were arrested by the Military Intelligence Unit. The reason behind their arrest, as confirmed by KQ’s Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka, was purportedly linked to missing custom documentation pertaining to valuable cargo.

Expressing his dismay, Kilavuka criticized the authorities in Kinshasa for detaining the employees, emphasizing that they were being held in defiance of a court order. He clarified that the national carrier had neither accepted nor uplifted the cargo in question due to incomplete documentation.

“On April 12th, 2024, it was alleged that custom documentation for valuable cargo intended for transportation on a KQ flight was absent. However, it’s imperative to note that KQ did not proceed with the transportation of the mentioned cargo owing to the incomplete documentation,” stated Kilavuka.

In response to the arrests, Kenya Airways promptly filed an application in the military court seeking the unconditional release of the detained employees. The court addressed the matter on April 25th, 2024, and granted KQ’s request for the release of the employees to facilitate due process.

Despite the court’s directive, the military intelligence unit continued to detain the employees, much to Kilavuka’s concern. He highlighted the unsettling situation of civilians being held in a military intelligence facility against court orders.

Additionally, Kilavuka revealed that the employees’ phones were confiscated during the arrest, depriving them of any outside communication. Although on April 23rd, 2024, officials from the Kenyan embassy and a few KQ staff were permitted to visit the detainees briefly, access remained limited.

Addressing the issue of the cargo in question, Kilavuka reiterated that it was not within KQ’s possession for transportation. He clarified that the cargo was still undergoing clearance in the baggage section when the security team intervened, erroneously alleging that KQ was transporting cargo without proper customs clearance.

“All efforts to clarify to the military officers that KQ had not accepted the cargo due to incomplete documentation proved futile,” lamented Kilavuka.