Kenya Airways staff members detained in DR Congo freed

Tuesday May 07 2024
Kenya Airways planes at JKIA

Kenya Airways planes on the taxi bay at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. PHOTO | NMG


Two Kenya Airways staff members who were detained in the Democratic Republic of Congo in late April have been released, a senior Kenyan foreign ministry official and the airline's chief executive said on Monday.

The airline's flights to Congo, which had been suspended in late April, would now resume, Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka, said in a statement.

Congo's military intelligence detained two of the airline's staff on April 19, allegedly because of missing customs documentation on some valuable cargo.

Read: Kenya Airways protests detention of its staff in Kinshasa

The company said it had not taken possession of the cargo because the shipper's paperwork was incomplete.

The two were detained despite a court order asking for their release, which prompted the airline to suspend its flights, saying the detention of the employees had made it difficult for the airline to support the flights.


One of the staff members was Kenyan, and the other Congolese.

"Deeply grateful to inform that Lydia Mbotela, KQ Manager in DRC, has just been released by the authorities in Kinshasa," Korir Sing'oei, Kenya's Foreign Affairs Ministry principal secretary, said on social media platform X.

Kenya Airways said Mbotela's Congolese colleague had also been released.

"Kenya Airways confirms that military authorities in Kinshasa have unconditionally released our two employees..." Kilavuka said.

Congo's communication minister, the government spokesperson and military intelligence did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

Kenya Airways had said last week that it was cooperating with investigating agencies and government entities in Congo and Kenya to ensure the matter was resolved.