President William Ruto conveyed the devastating news of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Francis Ogolla’s demise on Thursday, April 18, at 8:13 PM. The statement below outlines the sequence of events leading to the tragic loss of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) boss.

At approximately 2:20 PM on the same day, the nation witnessed a catastrophic air accident in the Sindar area, located in Kaben, Tot division, Elgeyo Marakwet County. President Ruto expressed deep sorrow as he announced the passing of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the esteemed Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces.

Tragically, the chopper crash claimed the lives of General Ogolla and eleven other courageous military personnel. Among them, nine gallant officers lost their lives, while two individuals miraculously survived the ordeal.

The fallen military personnel, who displayed unwavering dedication to their duties, are named as follows:

  1. Brigadier Swale Saidi
  2. Colonel Duncan Keittany
  3. Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe
  4. Major George Benson Magondu
  5. Captain Sora Mohamed
  6. Captain Hillary Litali
  7. Senior Sergeant John Kinyua Mureithi
  8. Sergeant Cliphonce Omondi
  9. Sergeant Rose Nyawira

Earlier on the fateful day, General Ogolla embarked on a crucial mission from Nairobi aboard a Kenya Air Force Huey Helicopter. His itinerary included visiting troops deployed in the North Rift as part of Operation Maliza Uhalifu and inspecting ongoing school renovations in several locations, such as Chesitet Primary School and Cheptulel Boys High School.

During his tour, General Ogolla received security briefings from a multi-agency team at Chesitet in Baringo County and addressed troops at the Kainuk Forward Operating Base in Turkana County. He later launched the rehabilitation of Cheptulel Boys High School in Chesegon, West Pokot County, before proceeding to the Recruits Training School in Uasin Gishu County for a scheduled inspection. Tragically, the helicopter crashed shortly after take-off from Chesegon.

President Ruto expressed profound grief over the loss of General Ogolla, describing him as a valiant general and a dedicated servant of the nation. He extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and declared a three-day period of national mourning, starting on April 19, 2024. During this period, the national flag, the Kenya Defence Forces flag, and the East African Community flag will fly at half-mast across the country and in Kenyan missions abroad.