• May 27, 2024
  • Last Update May 26, 2024 7:22 PM
  • Nairobi

Foreign affairs PS issues statement on arrest of KQ staff in DRC

Foreign affairs PS issues statement on arrest of KQ staff in DRC

By Patricia Mollyne Mataga

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has come out to issue its position following revelations that two Kenya Airways staff were being detained by the military in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

KQ Managing Director Aallan Kilavuka had early on Friday issued a statement confirming the arrest of the two staff.

Kilavuka, according to his statement said the two were arrested last Friday. The arrest was related to a controversial cargo whose details remain unclear.

In a statement responding to the KQ statement, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei said the ministry was taking relevant action to address the matter.

Sing’oei noted that the Kenyan embassy in Kinshasha was already handling the matter.

The PS also affirmed the government’s commitment to protect its citizens who are outside the country.

“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,” Sing’oei said in part of a post on his verified X handle, formerly Twitter.

“Our Mission in Kinshasa is engaging actively on the matter. We shall update the public on developments touching on this issue. The government reaffirms its commitment to protecting our citizens working abroad,” he added.

In issuing the statement, KQ accused the DRC’s military of continuing to detain the two Kenyans despite an existing court order that secured their release.

“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,” the KQ boss said.

“Despite the court orders, the military intelligence unit is still holding them incommunicado, yet these are civilians being held in a military intelligence facility,” he added.

In addition, Kenya Airways said the cargo in question was not on the air side for transportation and, therefore, not in their possession of KQ.

“The logistic handler was still completing documentation before handing it over to KQ,” the company said, adding that “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.”

Their efforts to explain to the military officers that KQ had not accepted the cargo because of incomplete documentation proved futile, leading to the arrest.

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