President William Ruto has officially declared a three-day period of mourning following the passing of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Francis Ogolla on Thursday, April 18.

Addressing the nation from State House in Nairobi, President Ruto announced that the mourning period would commence on Friday, April 19, and conclude on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

“During this time of national mourning, the Kenya Flag, the Kenya Defence Forces Flag, the East African Community Flag, and Flags of all formations of the military shall fly at half-mast,” President Ruto stated solemnly.

Reflecting on the loss, President Ruto expressed his deep sadness, not only as the Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces but also on behalf of the entire nation and the military fraternity.

President Ruto took a moment to honor General Ogolla’s legacy, recalling his dedication and service before his appointment as Chief of Defence Forces.

The tragic accident, which occurred around 2:20 pm, claimed the lives of nine individuals, including General Ogolla, with two others sustaining severe injuries. The aircraft was carrying a total of eleven occupants.

General Ogolla had been in West Pokot for a peacekeeping mission, following President Ruto’s directives regarding the deployment of KDF troops to the region.

Expressing his condolences, former President Uhuru Kenyatta praised General Ogolla as a patriotic individual, highlighting his remarkable leadership within the military.

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu conveyed her sympathies to President Ruto and the people of Kenya, extending her heartfelt condolences to the affected families, friends, and relatives.

First Lady Rachel Ruto offered words of comfort during this period of mourning, citing Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

As the nation mourns the loss of General Ogolla and the other soldiers, messages of solidarity and support pour in from both within Kenya and across the border.