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Kenya investigates crash that killed military chief

The Kenyan government has sent a team to investigate the helicopter crash that killed military chief General Francis Ogolla and nine others.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

General Ogolla was one of the twelve people on board the military plane that crashed shortly after take-off in the northwest of the country on Thursday afternoon.

The bodies of the deceased have been flown to Nairobi and the two survivors are being treated in hospital.

The four-star general will be buried on Sunday at his home in the western province of Siaya, his family said.

President William Ruto announced three days of national mourning and said the deaths were a “moment of great sadness” for the country.

The head of the Kenyan Armed Forces, General Francis Ogolla (C), gestures as British King Charles III (unseen) and Kenyan President William Ruto (unseen) arrive at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior during a wreath-laying ceremony at Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi on October 31st.  2023.

[Getty Images]

General Ogolla was appointed Chief of Defense of Kenya in April last year.

Mr Ruto described his chief military adviser as a brave officer who was killed in the line of duty.

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“Our motherland has lost one of her most gallant generals, gallant officers, servicemen and servicemen,” Ruto told the nation.

According to the Kenyan Ministry of Defense website, General Ogolla first joined the Kenyan Armed Forces on April 24, 1984.

Next week he would have been in the army for 40 years.

He began his career as a 2nd lieutenant in the country’s Air Force, where he trained as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, the ministry said. The late general also trained in imagery intelligence, counter-terrorism and accident investigation.

In 2018 he became commander of the air force.

In an interview last May, Ruto said he had appointed General Ogolla as army chief “against the advice of many people”. The president said General Ogolla belonged to a group that tried to influence the results of the 2022 presidential election.

This is the first time a Kenyan military chief has been killed in office. General Ogolla is expected to retire next year.

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The nine others who died in the crash were named as Brig Swale Saidi, Colonel Duncan Keittany, Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe, Major George Benson Magondu, Captain Sora Mohamed, Captain Hillary Litali, Sergeant General John Kinyua Mureithi, Sergeant Cliphonce Omondi and Sergeant Rose Nyawira. .

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga called the crash a “terrible day for Kenya”.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, said her “thoughts and prayers” went out to the president, government and people of Kenya following the “tragic helicopter accident”.

The officers had traveled to Kenya’s North Rift region, which has been plagued by banditry.

They were on a mission to reopen some schools that were closed after bandit attacks. They had also visited military officers deployed to stabilize the region.

In June 2021, at least ten soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed while landing near the capital Nairobi.

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