Kenya Airways Suspends Flights to Kinshasa Following “Unlawful” Detention of Employees

Kenya Airways (KQ), the national airline of Kenya, announced the suspension of its flights to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), citing the unlawful detention of two of its employees by the DRC’s military intelligence. The suspension took effect on Tuesday, following an official statement released by the airline on Monday via the social media platform X.

According to the statement, the incident that precipitated this decision occurred on April 19, when two employees were arrested by the DRC’s military intelligence agency, known as DEMIAP (Détection Militaire des Activités Anti-Patrie). They were allegedly detained over a shipment missing customs documents, claimed to contain valuable goods. However, the CEO of Kenya Airways stated that the mentioned cargo was neither packed nor approved by KQ due to incomplete documentation, suggesting a misunderstanding or mismanagement at the customs point.

During their detention, the employees’ mobile phones were confiscated, and they were denied any external contact until April 23. It was only then that officials from the Kenyan Embassy in Kinshasa and a delegation from Kenya Airways were permitted to visit them.

Kenya Airways has urged the DRC military to release the detained employees so they can return to their families. As of the last update, the DRC government had not yet responded to the situation.