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Shock, hard questions as Kenya’s military chief dies in a helicopter crash killing nine other senior officers

”The demise of General Ogolla is a painful loss to me. The sorrow we all feel about his passing is shared by all people of Kenya and especially the KDF fraternity. A distinguished four-star general has fallen in the course of duty and service to the country” – President Ruto.

A visibly shocked President Ruto delivered devastating news of the death of Kenya’s top ranking military boss – the Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF) Gen Francis Ogolla who died in a deadly helicopter crash while on duty.

The chopper that burst into a huge ball of fire claimed lives of nine other senior officers will only a solitary survivor who is receiving treatment at a hospital in Eldoret.

Hard questions are being asked as the country comes into terms with the heavy casualty, the worst to hit the Kenya Defence Forces in recent history. Indeed, General Ogolla is the first top military boss to die in office since independence and many of his predecessors are still alive enjoying their retirements.

The military equipment has also come into sharp focus especially the military aircrafts following several mishaps some fatal involving the choppers.

Terming it as a personal loss, President Ruto ordered a 3-day mourning period during which the national flag and flags of all other formations would fly half-mast in honour of the fallen soldiers. He said the tragic air accident occured at 2:20pm at Sandar area, Kaben location, Tot division, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

He named the other officers killed in the accident as Brigadier Swale Saidi, Col Duncan Keittany, Ltf Col David Sawe, Maj Gen Benson Magondu, Cpt Sora Mohamed, Capt Hillary Litali, Snr Sgr Cliphonce Omondi and Sgr Rose Nyawira.

President Ruto said the CDF onboard the Kenya Air Force Huey Helicopter, had left Nairobi in the morning, to visit troops deployed in the North Rift under Operation Maliza Uhalifu, and to inspect the ongoing school renovations work.

He said the aircraft crashed shortly after take-off as he was departing Chesegon for the Recruits Training School in Uasin Gishu County, where he was expected to inspect construction facilities at the institution.

Kenyans from across the country have continued to express sorrow and sadness over the tragic deaths and condolences continue to pour in.

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta who promoted Gen Ogolla to be Vice Chief of Defence Forces expressed shock describing Gen Ogolla as a fine soldier whose star has been tragically dimmed.

ODM leader Raila Odinga Odinga described the deaths as a terrible day for Kenya saying Gen Ogolla was a consummate professional who served his country with utmost dedication.

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