Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla dies in KDF chopper crash

CDF Francis Ogolla during the launch of the National Peace Support Operations Fund at the Kahawa Garrison, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Omondi Ogolla is dead. 

Ogolla was confirmed dead alongside nine other military personnel following a KDF chopper crash at Sindar, Kaben in Elgeyo Marakwet on Thursday afternoon.

The nine include 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.

“Today at 2; 20 pm, our nation suffered a tragic air accident at Sindar area, Kaben location, Tot division, in Elgeyo Marakwet County. I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces,” President Ruto announced. 

Ruto said Ogolla left Nairobi Thursday morning for work in the Rift Region, where he inspected the renovation of five schools in Elgeyo Marakwet.

He also visited Turkana where he met and spoke to troops deployed there before flying to West Pokot County. 

At the time of the crash, General Ogolla and his team were en route to Uasin Gishu County.

Following Ogolla’s demise, Ruto has announced three days of mourning with flags flying at half-mast.

“During this time of national mourning, the Kenyan flag, the Kenya Defence Forces Flag, and the Eastern Africa community flag shall fly at half-mast in the Republic of Kenya and Kenya missions abroad,” said Ruto. 

Bodies of the fallen Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla and nine other military members who perished in the crash were airlifted to Embakasi Airbase in Nairobi and later moved to KDF Memorial hospital before burial.