The Kenyan contingent on the Kenya Airways special flight KQ 1322 were given a tumultuous welcome by relatives and friends, when the KQ B767-300 touched down at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport a short while ago.
Unlike many others rescued by the same mission, who will now make their way home on Kenya Airways’ connecting flights to Entebbe, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Bujumbura and Johannesburg they had completed their homebound journey and, according to an eyewitness from JKIA, expressed their relief and gratitude to be back home safely.
The Kenyan government, through their embassy in Tripoli, joined by fellow East African diplomats also accredited to Libya, made the ground arrangements in Tripoli to get as many East Africans to the airport there as was possible, while Kenya Airways did all the flight planning and logistics – a major challenges as it turned out in the end, considering they were flying into a virtual civil zone.
In spite of setbacks and disappointing delays, the flight was eventually able to leave Tripoli, then stopped in Cairo to give the crew their required rest time – they were first on standby to take off to Libya and then sat on the ground for an extended period of time – before the aircraft left Egypt in the early hours of today and returned to Nairobi.
As to Ugandans on board, they too can expect a hero’s welcome in Entebbe, when they get home later in the morning, equally happy to have escaped with their lives and the few bits and pieces they managed to carry with them, when abandoning their work places in Libya and running for their dear life, before Tripoli too degenerates further into street fighting.
Again, compliments to all involved to bring this rescue mission about and to Kenya Airways’ crew and management for their defiance to succeed in the face of many problems.
Compiled by Jackie