26 Apr 2024

Position Statement On The Detention Of Kenya Airways Employees In Kinshasa

Kenya Airways (KQ) confirms that on Friday, April 19th, 2024, two of our employees at our Airport office in Kinshasa were arrested and continue to be detained by the Military Intelligence Unit known as Detection Militaire des Activities Anti Patrie (DEMIAP). During their arrest, their phones were seized, and all access to them has been denied. On April 23rd 2024, the Kenyan embassy officials and a few KQ staff were allowed to visit them but only for a few minutes.

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KENYA AIRWAYS STATEMENT ON DETENTION OF ITS EMPLOYEES IN KINSHASA

The reason for their arrest was alleged to be missing custom documentation on valuable cargo that was to be transported on a KQ flight on April 12th, 2024. However, we wish to state that the said cargo was not uplifted or accepted by KQ due to incomplete documentation.

 

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

 

The facts on the incident are as follows:

1. The cargo was not on the air side for transportation and, therefore, not in the possession of KQ as the logistic handler was still completing documentation before handing it over to KQ.

2. 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.

3. All efforts to explain to the military officers that KQ had not accepted the cargo because of incomplete documentation proved futile.

4. The military officers took the two employees to the military side of the air wing (DEMIAP)to record statements. They were held incommunicado until 23RD April, when the Embassy officials and KQ team were allowed to visit them.

 

For clarity:

Kenya Airways adheres to international best practices in handling and transporting cargo. The airline has stringent processes and compliance checks known as 'Ready for carriage' to ensure any cargo ferried on our flights meets all the statutory requirements across our destinations. All our logistics partners MUST comply with these measures before KQ accepts any cargo. These include:

1. Documentation must be compliant and approved by the relevant agencies and regulators of the cargo being ferried.

2. The appropriate authorities must sign and approve security and safety checks, such as weight and relevant documentation.

3. No cargo can be accepted until customs endorsement is given.

 

All cargo must pass the 'Ready for Carriage' compliance checks before KQ accepts it, and this is the responsibility of the shipper or logistics partner, not KQ. We are perturbed by this action targeting innocent staff and consider it harassment targeting Kenya Airways' business. KQ continues to cooperate with the investigating agencies and is working with the relevant Government entities in both DRC and Kenya to ensure this matter is resolved.

 

Allan Kilavuka

Group Managing Director & CEO

26TH April 2024.

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26 Apr 2024

Kenya Airways (KQ) confirms that on Friday, April 19th, 2024, two of our employees at our Airport office in Kinshasa were arrested and continue to be detained by the Military Intelligence Unit known as Detection Militaire des Activities Anti Patrie (DEMIAP). During their arrest, their phones were seized, and all access to them has been denied. On April 23rd 2024, the Kenyan embassy officials and a few KQ staff were allowed to visit them but only for a few minutes.

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