Helicopter Crash Claims Lives of Kenya’s Military Leader and 9 Others

Kenya’s military leader, General Francis Ogolla, was among 10 individuals who lost their lives in a military helicopter accident shortly after departure on Thursday, as announced by President William Ruto. The helicopter, which had been visiting troops deployed in northwest Kenya to address ongoing cattle theft issues, crashed shortly after leaving Cheptulel Boys Secondary School in West Pokot County. President Ruto stated that two soldiers survived the crash and were hospitalized, and an air investigation team had been dispatched to determine the cause.

President Ruto expressed deep sorrow at the loss, describing General Ogolla as one of the nation’s bravest generals. Ogolla, who previously served as the head of the Kenyan Air Force and later rose to deputy military chief before being promoted to military head by Ruto last year, had a long career in the Kenya Defense Forces, beginning in 1984. He underwent training as a fighter pilot with the United States Air Force and served as an instructor pilot at the Kenya Air Force (KAF).

Despite previous allegations by Ruto accusing Ogolla of involvement in a plot to overturn the outcome of the 2022 presidential election, Ruto asserted that Ogolla was the most qualified individual for the position. The region has experienced significant unrest, with numerous civilian and police casualties reported. This tragic incident echoes a similar helicopter crash near Nairobi in June 2021, which claimed the lives of at least 10 soldiers during the landing.