Thousands of passengers were stranded in Kenya’s four main airports yesterday after a strike by workers caused major flight disruptions.

Workers say they are unhappy over a planned merger between the airport authority and the national airline.

About 60 flights failed to leave Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – East Africa’s largest – but some operations had resumed by the afternoon.

Airports in Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu are also disrupted.

The government has condemned the strike as illegal and Kenyan air force personnel have been brought in to ease the situation.

Riot police were deployed and used tear gas and batons to disperse striking workers at the capital’s main airport, local media say.

Kenya Airways says the situation is improving, with long-haul flights to Amsterdam and Mumbai having departed, others boarding and domestic flights “set to resume shortly”.

Some flights to regional destinations have been cancelled.

A key figure in organising the strike, Kenya Aviation Workers Union secretary-general Moss Ndiema, has been arrested.

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