Six million face masks procured by the German army have gone missing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, according to reports.
The masks were meant to help German military personnel to protect themselves from coronavirus, which has infected nearly 400,000 people globally and killed over 17,000 others.
It is suspected that either Kenyan criminals stole the shipment for sale in the country or the manufacturer changed mind and decided to make profits by selling them in Kenya, where they are in huge demand due to the Covid-19 epidemic, German publication Der Spiegel reports. The type FFP2 protective masks were scheduled to arrive in Germany on March 20th.
“…[T]he goods disappeared at the airport in Kenya,” a German military spokesperson told the newspaper.
The army is helping the country’s health officials to fight the highly contagious virus. Germany has so far confirmed over 31,000 cases of the illness and 132 deaths.
Spiegel reports that the loss is “more than irritating” as the army struggles with equipment shortage and breakdowns.
The army spokesperson however said Germany will not suffer any financial loss as payment was to be made on delivery. The value of the shipment remains unknown.
The masks’ manufacturer has since been asked to “explain the circumstances leading to the loss of the cargo.”
On Tuesday, Kenya received 20,000 Covid-19 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. The consignment arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Tuesday afternoon from Addis Ababa aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
The delivery is part of the 1.1 million testing kits, six million masks and 60,000 medical use protective suits and face shields donated to Africa by the Alibaba co-founder.