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Ruto, Uhuru mourn CDF General Francis Ogolla

 President William Ruto (right), with Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Francis Ogolla. [The Standard]

Kenya is mourning the death of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen. Francis Ogolla.

General Ogolla died in a helicopter crash on Thursday afternoon in the Sindar area in Kaben, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

He died together with nine other military officers, while two survived.

President William Ruto, confirming the CDF’s demise on Thursday evening, said the country has 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 country,” said Ruto.

“I convey my deepest condolences to all families who are grieving this untimely loss and our mourning nation. May the Almighty Lord rest their souls in peace and grant their families fortitude at this time of deep sorrow. I also wish a quick recovery to the two injured soldiers in this accident.”

His predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, mourned General Ogolla as a devoted patriot, who had committed his life to serving the country.

“The CDF was not only an accomplished military leader but also a devoted patriot who dedicated his life to serving and protecting our beloved country. His leadership, bravery, and unwavering commitment to duty have made a lasting impact on our armed forces and our nation as a whole,” wrote Kenyatta in a post on X.

General Ogolla served as the Vice CDF during Kenyatta’s tenure as president and as the Deputy Commander of the Kenya Air Force, and Commander of the Kenya Air Force.

“May the memories of these exceptional military officers, who had a profound influence on our nation, bring you comfort and strength in this difficult time,” he ended.

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu has also sent her condolences to her Kenyan counterpart and the people of Kenya.

Nimepokea kwa masikitiko makubwa taarifa ya kifo cha Mkuu wa Majeshi ya Ulinzi ya Jamhuri ya Kenya, Jenerali Francis Omondi Ogolla na wanajeshi wengine tisa katika ajali ya helikopta iliyotokea leo katika Kaunti ya Elgeyo-Marakwet.Natuma salamu za pole kwa Rais na Amiri Jeshi… pic.twitter.com/hcPlL7J47K

— Samia Suluhu (@SuluhuSamia) April 18, 2024

Other leaders who condoled the family of CDF General Ogolla include African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, Azimio Chief Raila Odinga, and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula.

“My wife Ida and I are deeply saddened and profoundly shocked by the passing of General. Francis Ogolla, the Chief of Defence Forces. We join the nation in mourning his loss. Gen. Ogolla was a true patriot, a highly decorated soldier, and a consummate professional who served our country with unwavering dedication. Our hearts go out to his family, his colleagues in the KDF, and the entire nation as we grieve this immense loss,” said Odinga.

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, in his condolence message, said: “Our thoughts and prayers go to President William Ruto and the people of Kenya following a tragic helicopter accident that claimed the lives of military personnel including the Chief of the Kenyan Defence Forces, General Francis Omondi Ogolla. May their souls rest in peace.”

Speaker Wetang’ula wrote: “I stand with reverence together with the nation and our disciplined forces, grieving the tragic loss of Gen. Francis.O. Ogolla, the Chief of the Defence Forces, whose untimely demise in a helicopter crash while on duty in Elgeyo Marakwet County weighs heavily upon our hearts.  His unwavering commitment to duty remains unparalleled, leaving behind a legacy of distinguished service to the nation.”

The KDF helicopter tragedy that claimed the life of KDF boss Ogolla among other soldiers.Courtesy: UGC. pic.twitter.com/1ozJB8Koll

— The Standard Digital (@StandardKenya) April 18, 2024

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