Kenya Airways Monday announced the resumption of flights to Kinshasa after an employee who had been detained there was released.

KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka reiterated their staff are innocent in the saga that led to the suspension of flights to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We want to reiterate that our employees are innocent and were only carrying out their duties in strict adherence to the laid-out procedures. We stand by their innocence and will continue to support them.”

“With the necessary ground support in place, we are pleased to announce that Kenya Airways will resume flights to Kinshasa on 8 May 2024. We look forward to serving our valued customers once again,” he said.

The suspension of the flights to DRC had badly affected many operations in the country.

The Kenya Airways employee who had been detained by the Democratic Republic of Congo Military Intelligence Unit was finally freed on Monday after a two-week detention.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei made the announcement Monday evening after negotiations.

According to the PS, Lydia Mbotela, a KQ manager working in the DRC, was released after negotiations facilitated by Kenya’s Military Attaché and Charge d’affaires.

“Deeply grateful to inform that Lydia Mbotela, KQ Manager in DRC, has just been released by the authorities in Kinshasa,” Sing’oei wrote on social platform X on Monday.

“I commend the team at our Mission: our Military Attaché, the FRO and the Charge d’affaires, for this incredible work of negotiating our compatriot’s release.”

Kilavuka said the two were apprehended by the Military Intelligence Unit in Kinshasa for “missing customs documentation on valuable cargo.”

Kilavuka, on the other hand, faulted Kinshasa authorities for arresting the duo, claiming that they were being held in violation of a court order and that the cargo in question had not been uplifted or accepted by KQ.

As the situation deteriorated, KQ suspended its flights to Kinshasha, stating in a statement that it was unable to provide its services effectively without its employees.

The KQ boss thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff led by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi for the release.

It has emerged the borne of contention was about USD8 million that was to be flown to Kenya from DRC, according to investigators.

The money belonged to a bank.

But the money allegedly went missing from the airport before it could be admitted into the airline as cargo and before the military officials arrived.

This prompted the move to detain the two workers.

Kinshasa gave in to the demands to release the workers before the flights were resumed even as the investigations into the claims went on.

The security officials there suspected the money was being used to fund resurgence there.

SourceThe Star.   

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