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UN officials arrested at JKIA after tussle over smelly shoes

An argument over stinking shoes between two United Nations employees on a Turkish Airlines flight destined for Nairobi turned physical when the two landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The Kenya Police Airport Unit deputy commandant on Monday said the two were arrested on Friday but later released as investigations into the cases of assault and creating a disturbance continued.

Mr Haris Pajtic, a Croatian and the human resources liason officer at UN-Habitat, told the police that he left Istanbul with his colleague and, along the way, Mr Lamin Dean Tunkara took off his shoes.

DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY

He politely informed him that the shoes were stinking, but Mr Tunkara, a Gambian who is a monitoring and evaluation specialist with the UNDP, instead insulted him and made some obscene gestures at him.

Mr Pajtic also accused Mr Tunkara of referring to him using words that are generally considered racist and against the UN regulations.

When their flight landed at JKIA, Mr Pajtic reported the matter to the Immigration Department officials, who referred him to the Airport Police Station.

The two were escorted to the police station but, while they were recording their statements, another argument ensued and Mr Pajtic punched his colleague in the nose, causing him physical injury.

Head of the Diplomatic Police Unit Ambrose Mwawaka on Monday said Mr Pajtic was a diplomat who enjoyed immunity from prosecution.