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World - Africa Updated: April 18, 2024

Kenya mourns loss of defence chief in helicopter crash

By Hadiza Musa Yusuf
April 18, 2024
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Kenya is in mourning following the tragic loss of its defence chief in a helicopter crash.

President William Ruto announced the passing of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, on Thursday. According to him, the crash happened in a military helicopter in a remote area of the country.

“Today at 2:20 pm, our nation suffered a tragic air accident… I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of General Francis Omondi Ogolla,” Ruto told reporters.

The President, who had convened an urgent meeting of the National Security Council after news of the accident emerged, said nine other “gallant military personnel” on board were also killed while two survived.

He said the Kenya Air Force has dispatched an air investigation team to establish the cause of the crash, which took place in Elgeyo Marakwet county, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.

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

“A distinguished four-kistar general has fallen in the course of duty and in the service of the country,” he said. "Our motherland has lost one of her most valiant generals, gallant officers, service men and women.”

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

 

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