Gen.Ogolla Kenya’s defense chief was among ten officials In chopper Crash.

Kenya’s defense chief among ten officials Who died in a military chopper crash; two survived.


The Late Gen.Ogolla's Photo
       The Late Gen.Ogolla’s Photo

Kenya’s defense commander and nine other high officials were killed Thursday, April 18th, 2024 in a military helicopter accident in a remote section of the country, according to President William Ruto. Two policemen, including the pilot, survived the crash.

“Our country experienced a devastating air catastrophe today at 2:20 p.m.“I am deeply saddened to announce the death of General Francis Omondi Ogolla,” Ruto said in statement.

The president, who had called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council after learning of the disaster, said nine other “gallant military personnel” on board were also slain, with two survivors.

He added the Kenya Aviation Force has dispatched an aviation investigation team to determine the cause of the crash, which occurred in Elgeyo Marakwet county, around 250 miles northwest of Nairobi.

Ruto claimed the chopper crashed shortly after takeoff from Chesegon, where he and his crew were visiting a school.” A distinguished four-star general has fallen in the course of duty and the service of the country,” he was quoted as saying.

Ruto declared three days of mourning beginning Friday, with official flags flying at half-mast. He claimed Ogolla, flew out of Nairobi on Thursday morning aboard an Air Force Huey helicopter to meet troops stationed in the North Rift area as part of Operation Maliza Uhalifu (Operation End Crime in Swalihi), among other locations.

Kenyan authorities have long faced instability in the Rift Valley region, where armed bandits and cattle rustlers abound.“The helicopter burst into flames after crashing, and it had more than 10 senior commanders on board, including General Ogolla,” police officer told AFP earlier. “They were in the area on security mission because there are KDF (Kenya Defence Forces) soldiers deployed in the region,” he said.

Ruto appointed Ogolla as Chief of Defence Forces in April last year, following spell as deputy. Ruto told media in May that he appointed Ogolla although he was among those who attempted to overturn his tight election victory over opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2022.

“When I looked at his CV, he was the best person to be (a) general,” Ruto added, acknowledging that his decision went against the wishes of many people. Ogolla, a skilled fighter pilot, joined the KDF in April 1984 and rose through the ranks to command the Kenyan Air Force in 2018, where he served for three years.

He also received fighter pilot training from the United States Air Force, according to Reuters, citing his Defence Ministry profile. He earned degrees from École Militaire de Paris, Kenya’s National Defence College, Egerton University, and the University of Nairobi.

Gen. Ogolla is survived by his wife Aileen, two daughters, and one grandson. The incident was the second in three years that a chopper killed ten military officers in Kenya.

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