Kenya’s military chief dies in helicopter crash

18 April 2024, 19:34

Kenya’s military chief General Francis Ogolla
Kenya Military Chief Dies. Picture: PA

General Francis Ogolla was on a tour of the country’s troubled western region when the helicopter he was travelling in crashed and caught fire.

Kenya’s military chief General Francis Ogolla has died in a helicopter crash near the country’s border with Uganda, President William Ruto has announced.

The helicopter was carrying 11 people, including Gen Ogolla, when it crashed on Thursday and caught fire over a remote area, killing nine people onboard, the president – who has declared three days of national mourning – said.

It is unclear what caused the crash.

Gen Ogolla, 61, was on a tour of the country’s troubled western region that has seen frequent attacks by local bandits.

General Ogolla, right, with the King, left, and Kenya’s president William Ruto, centre, in Mombasa in November 2023
General Ogolla, right, with the King, left, and Kenya’s president William Ruto, centre, during a military ceremony in Mombasa in November 2023 (Brian Inganga/AP)

He was appointed Kenya’s chief of defence forces in April last year after General Robert Kibochi retired.

Political controversy surrounded Gen Ogolla even before his appointment, when he was accused by the country’s electoral commission chairperson as being part of a national security council delegation that tried to influence the outcome of the 2022 general election against Mr Ruto.

Mr Ruto later explained that he called Gen Ogolla before his appointment and said that, despite the election controversy, he was the most qualified for the job.

Gen Ogolla joined Kenya’s military force 40 years ago.

He was a graduate of Ecole Militaire de Paris, the National Defence College of Kenya, Egerton University and the University of Nairobi.

Gen Ogolla is survived by his wife Aileen, two children and a grandson.

By Press Association

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