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Kenya Airways Resumes Flights to DR Congo After Staff Release

Credits: AFP
Credits: AFP

Nairobi, Kenya – In a recent turn of events, Kenya Airways announced the resumption of its flights to the Democratic Republic of Congo following the release of two airline staff members who had been detained last month. The airline attributed the detention to a significant “misunderstanding” by Congolese authorities.

The two employees were reportedly held over missing customs documents related to a shipment described as valuable cargo. Allan Kilavuka, the Managing Director of Kenya Airways, explained that the misunderstanding involved banknotes belonging to a Congolese bank which were en route to the United States.

According to Mr. Kilavuka, the airline had not yet taken custody of the cargo when the arrests occurred. “This was purely a misunderstanding by the military intelligence officers,” he stated during an interview with the BBC’s Newsday program. He elaborated that despite attempts to clarify the situation, communication between military and customs officials in Kinshasa may have faltered, leading to the unwarranted detention.

The incident had initially prompted Kenya Airways to suspend its operations in DR Congo, citing difficulties in maintaining flight support amid the ongoing situation. However, the airline has now confirmed the “unconditional” release of its personnel and is set to restart flights this Wednesday, with added assurances of necessary ground support.

In efforts to fully resolve the matter and prevent future incidents, Mr. Kilavuka revealed plans to travel to Kinshasa himself. The move underscores Kenya Airways’ commitment to safeguarding its operations and staff abroad.

While Congolese officials have yet to issue a formal statement regarding the incident, the release of the airline’s staff marks a positive development in diplomatic and business relations between Kenya and the DR Congo. The airline praised the concerted efforts by government officials and the Kenyan embassy in Kinshasa which facilitated the resolution of the case.

Source: BBC