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Sat. May 25th, 2024

Kenya has began mourning following the tragic demise of its Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces (CDF), General Francis Omondi Ogolla, along with nine other senior military officers, in a helicopter crash. The incident, which occurred shortly after takeoff in a remote area of northwestern Kenya on Thursday, marks the latest in a series of accidents afflicting the nation’s military.

President William Ruto solemnly announced the deaths, paying tribute to General Ogolla’s distinguished service to the country. In honor of the fallen officers, the nation has commenced three days of mourning, during which the national flag will be flown at half-mast across Kenya and its missions abroad.

The Daily Nation, Kenya’s leading newspaper, captured the nation’s grief with its front-page headline, “Final Salute.” The bodies of the victims, draped in Kenyan flags, were transported to a military base in Nairobi aboard an air force plane late Thursday.

General Ogolla, born in 1962, was appointed to his position by President Ruto just a year ago and was on the brink of celebrating 40 years of dedicated military service. His daughter, Lorna Ogolla, expressed her heartfelt sorrow on Linkedin, describing her father as one who spent the better part of four decades striving to safeguard Kenya.

Condolences poured in from neighboring countries and foreign diplomatic missions in Kenya as news of the tragedy spread. General Ogolla had been visiting troops deployed in Operation Maliza Uhalifu (Operation End Crime), an initiative aimed at combating insecurity caused by armed bandits and cattle rustlers in the North Rift region.

President Ruto confirmed that the Air Force had dispatched an investigation team to determine the cause of the crash, which involved a “Huey” helicopter. Reports from Kenyan media highlighted concerns over the safety of the country’s military aircraft, citing this as the fifth armed forces helicopter crash in the past 12 months, with allegations of inadequate maintenance and aging equipment.

This latest tragedy underscores the need for comprehensive measures to ensure the safety and reliability of Kenya’s military operations, as the nation mourns the loss of General Ogolla and his fellow officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

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