Kenya Mourns Chief of Defence Forces, Francis Ogolla

Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Francis Ogolla met a tragic end when a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) helicopter crashed in Sindar, Elgeyo-Marakwet County. President William Ruto delivered the somber news in a live address on April 18th, 2024, from State House, Nairobi, expressing deep sorrow at the loss of General Ogolla and 11 other military personnel.

“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 stated.

Among those who perished were Brigadier Swale Saidi, Colonel Duncan Keittany, and Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe, along with other officers and servicemen. The crash, which occurred on Thursday afternoon, prompted President Ruto to declare three days of national mourning, beginning today Friday, April 19, during which flags would be flown at half-mast.

General Ogolla’s untimely demise was met with profound sadness, not only by the military fraternity but also by the entire nation. As the Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, Ruto mourned the loss of a distinguished leader and pledged full support for the families of the fallen soldiers.

“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. Our motherland has lost one of her most valiant generals, gallant officers, servicemen, and women,” President Ruto said.

“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, and especially the KDF fraternity. A distinguished four-star general has fallen in the course of duty, and service to the country,” Ruto added.

A Kenya Air Force team was swiftly dispatched to the crash site to investigate the cause of the accident, which occurred during Ogolla’s mission to visit troops in the North Rift region and inspect school renovations.