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President Kagame mourns victims of Kenyan military chopper crash

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 19 April 2024 at 04:48

President Paul Kagame has sent his message of condolence to his Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto, and the families of the victims of Thursday’s chopper crash, which claimed the lives of 10 people, including Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Francis Ogolla.

In a statement on Friday, the Rwandan Head of State eulogised Gen. Ogolla as a soldier who served with great professionalism and humility.

"I send my heartfelt condolences to President William Ruto, the family, and loved ones of the victims of the plane crash, including Chief of Defense Forces General Ogolla, who will be remembered for his professionalism and humility in his service,” Kagame wrote.

President Ruto confirmed the death of Gen. Ogolla in a press conference from State House in Nairobi on Thursday night.

The CDF and nine others died after a military helicopter they were travelling crashed at the Sindar area in Elgeyo Marakwet County on Thursday afternoon at around 2:20pm.

"Today, at 2:20pm, our nation suffered a tragic air accident in Sindar area, Keben location, Tot division, in Elgeyo Marakwet County. I am deeply saddened to announce the passing on of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces," he said.

In his tribute, President Ruto said the country had lost one of her most valiant generals and servicemen.

“This is a moment of great sadness for myself, as the Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, the Kenya Defence Forces fraternity, and the nation at large. The demise of General Ogolla is a painful loss to me, and certainly, the sorrow we all feel about his passing is shared by all the people of Kenya, especially the KDF fraternity. A distinguished four-star general has fallen in the course of duty, and service to the country,” he added.

The ill-fated chopper was carrying 12 military officers at the time of the crash. The President said there were only two survivors.

Others who perished in the air crash were Brigadier Swale Saidi, Colonel Duncan Keittany, Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe, Major George Benson Magondu (Pilot), Captain Sora Mohamed, Captain Hillary Litali, Senior Sergeant John Kinyua Mureithi, Sergeant Cliphonce Omondi, and Sergeant Rose Nyawira.

“I convey my deepest condolences to all families that are grieving this untimely loss, and our mourning nation as well. I also wish quick recovery to the two injured soldiers in this accident,” President Ruto added.

He said a team of investigative officers from the Kenya Air Force had been dispatched to probe the cause of crash, even as he announced a three day of national mourning in honour of the fallen General.

Gen. Ogolla died nearly a year after he was sworn in as Kenya’s military boss on April 29, 2023.

He took over the CDF mantle from Gen. Robert Kibochi whose term ended after 44 years in the military.

Prior to assuming the CDF role, Ogolla served as the Commander of the Air Force and Vice Chief of Defence Forces.


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