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‘Moment of great sadness,’ Ruto confirms General Ogolla’s death

In a sombre state briefing, Kenyan President William Ruto confirmed the heartbreaking news of the death of Defence Services Chief General Francis Omondi Ogolla and eleven other gallant military personnel in a tragic plane crash.

“Today at 02:20pm, our nation suffered a tragic air accident in the Sindar area, Kaben location, Tot division, Elgeyo Marakwet County. I am deeply saddened to announce the death of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces,” Dr Ruto said in a solemn statement.

Giving details of the fateful incident, Dr Ruto revealed that General Ogolla and his entourage were aboard the Kenya Air Force Huey helicopter that took off from Nairobi on the morning of April 18.

Their mission was to visit troops deployed in the North Rift as part of Operation Maliza Uhalifu and to inspect ongoing school rehabilitation works at several institutions.

The tragic crash claimed the lives of General Ogolla and nine other gallant military personnel, leaving two survivors.

The fallen officers were identified as Brigadier Swale Saidi, Colonel Duncan Keittany, Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe, Major George Benson Magondu, Captain Sora Mohamed, Captain Hillary Litali, Senior Sergeant John Kinyua Mureithi, Sergeant Cliphonce Omondi and Sergeant Rose Nyawira.

President Ruto recounted the CDF’s itinerary, highlighting his engagements with troops and visits to various schools and military facilities before the fatal crash occurred shortly after take-off from the Recruits Training School in Uasin Gishu County.

Expressing deep sorrow, Dr Ruto said: “This is a moment of great sadness for me as the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, the Kenya Defence Forces fraternity and the nation at large.

He extended his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and announced a three-day period of mourning from April 19.

In honour of General Ogolla’s distinguished military career and sacrifice, the nation will observe a period of mourning, with flags flown at half-mast both in Kenya and at Kenyan missions abroad. In addition, the Kenya Air Force has dispatched an aviation investigation team to determine the cause of the tragic crash.