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HomeBreaking NewsTSHISEKEDI SOURS DRC REGIONAL RELATIONS: Kenya Suspends Flights To Kinshasa

TSHISEKEDI SOURS DRC REGIONAL RELATIONS: Kenya Suspends Flights To Kinshasa

Kenya Airways has suspended its flights to the Democratic Republic of Congo after two airline employees were arrested in the country marking a deepening regional crisis.

This follows arrests of its staff by the Congolese government.

The development throws the relationship of Congo and Kenya into a sour affair.

Kenya Airways is the second airline in the region to cut ties with Congo after Rwanda Air a year ago.

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KINSHASA, April 26 (Reuters) – Kenya Airways on Friday accused authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of harassment over the continued detention of two of the airline’s staff for alleged customs violations despite a court ordering their release.

A senior Kenyan government official said Kenya had also objected to what he said was their arrest and detention.

Officers from Congo’s military intelligence detained the pair on April 19 for allegedly failing to complete customs documentation related to valuable cargo that was meant to be transported a week earlier, the airline said in a statement.

The airline workers have been granted only one short visit by Kenya’s embassy staff, Kenya’s national carrier said. Congo’s government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya said he would give a response later.

“We are perturbed by this action targeting innocent staff and consider it harassment targeting Kenya Airways’ business,” the airline said.

Korir Sing’oei, the principal secretary at Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry, said the government was committed to protecting its citizens abroad.

“Kenya takes great exception to the arrest and detention of its nationals lawfully carrying out commercial activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo by authorities in DRC,” he said on social media platform X.

“Our Mission in Kinshasa is engaging actively on the matter.”
At the time of the pair’s arrest, Kenya Airways (KQ) had not taken possession of the cargo because the logistics handler was still processing documentation, the airline said.

“This cargo was still in the baggage section undergoing clearance when the security team arrived and alleged that KQ was transporting cargo without customs clearance,” it said.

On April 25 a court said the two employees should be released to allow due process, the airline added.

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