Plane crash claims lives of Kenyan Defence Chief, nine others

April 19, 2024

1.3 min readCategories: International

 

A helicopter crash has claimed the life of Kenyan Defense Chief, Francis Ogolla and nine other high-ranking officials.

President William Ruto said the incident occurred in a remote section of the country on Thursday.

Calling for an emergency meeting of the National Security Council after the incident occurred, Ruto said nine other “gallant military personnel” on board were also killed, with two survivors.

The president said the Kenya Aviation Force has dispatched an aviation investigation team to determine the cause of the crash, which occurred in Elgeyo Marakwet county, around 400 kilometres (250 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.

The helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff from Chesegon, where he and his entourage had been visiting a school.

Ruto announced three days of mourning from Friday, with official flags flying at half mast.

He said Ogolla, 61, had left Nairobi on Thursday morning on an Air Force Huey helicopter to visit troops deployed in the North Rift area in Operation Maliza Uhalifu (Operation End Crime in Swahili), and other sites.

Kenyan authorities have long battled insecurity in the Rift Valley region, with armed bandits and cattle rustlers rampant.

Ogolla was appointed Chief of the Defence Forces by Ruto in April last year after a stint as Deputy.

Ruto told journalists last May that he appointed Ogolla despite him being among those who tried to overturn his narrow election win against opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2022.

A trained fighter pilot, Ogolla joined the KDF in April 1984, rising through the ranks to command the Kenyan Air Force in 2018, a post he held for three years.

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About the Author: Yetunde Ogunmola

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