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Kenya helicopter crash kills country’s military chief

Written by on April 19, 2024

Kenya’s military chief general Francis Omondi Ogolla died after a military helicopter crashed in the west of the country on Thursday, the president said.

Ogolla – Kenya’s highest ranking military officer – was in the helicopter alongside 11 other military personnel.

Only two people survived.

In a news conference, president William Ruto said it was a “moment of great sadness” for the country.

He had earlier convened an urgent security council meeting.

The crash happened at 14h20, Ruto said.

The Kenyan air force has dispatched an air investigation team to establish the cause.

The helicopter came down in Elgeyo Marakwet county, some 400km north-west of the capital Nairobi, shortly after take off, president Ruto said.

Ogolla was appointed in April of last year after serving as the commander of the air force and deputy chief of defence forces.

Ruto described his chief military adviser as a gallant officer who had died in the line of duty.

“Our motherland has lost one of her most valiant generals, gallant officers, service men and women,” president Ruto told the nation.

Kenya will observe a three-day period of mourning, commencing on Friday, with flags flying at half-mast.

Ogolla first joined the Kenya Defence Forces on 24 April 1984, according to the Kenyan defence ministry’s website.

He was due to mark 40 years in the military next week.

He began his career as a second lieutenant in the country’s air force, where he trained as a fighter pilot with the United States air force, the ministry says. In 2018, he became commander of the air force. – BBC

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