Chief of Defence Forces Francis Ogolla is Dead; President William Ruto has Confirmed

Written by on 18 April 2024

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 18- President William Ruto has sadly announced the tragic passing of Chief of Defence Forces Francis Ogolla in a helicopter crash that occurred on Thursday afternoon.

Speaking to the press today, President Ruto revealed that the military helicopter went down in the Sindar area of Elgeyo Marakwet County at approximately 2:20pm.

“In Sindar area, Keben location, Tot division, Elgeyo Marakwet County, our nation experienced a devastating air incident today at 2:20pm. It is with deep sorrow that I confirm the loss of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces,” he expressed.

The President further disclosed that the helicopter was carrying a total of 12 military personnel, including CDF Ogolla. Only two individuals survived the crash. Among those who died were;

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.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families affected by this sudden loss, as well as to our grieving nation. Additionally, I wish the two injured soldiers involved in this accident a speedy recovery,” President Ruto conveyed.

He further declared three days of national mourning following the death of CDF Ogolla and the entire military personnel who lost their lives

About Francis Ogolla

  • On 28 April 2023, His Excellency Dr. William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya, and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, pursuant to Section 9 (2), (a) of the Kenya Defence Forces Act, promoted Lieutenant General Francis Omondi Ogolla to the rank of General and appointed him Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF).
  • Prior to this appointment General Francis Omondi Ogolla was the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces.
  • Gen Francis Omondi Ogolla joined the Kenya Defence Forces on 24 April 1984 and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant on 6 May 1985 and posted to Kenya Air Force. He trained as a fighter pilot with USAF and as an instructor pilot at the Kenya Air Force (KAF).
  • He also trained in other fields including imagery intelligence, counter terrorism and accident investigation.
  • Gen Francis O Ogolla is a graduate of ÉcoleMilitaire de Paris and National Defence College of Kenya. He holds Diploma both in International Studies and Military Science from Egerton University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Armed Conflict and Peace Studies (First Class Honors) and Masters of Arts in International Studies from the University of Nairobi.
  • He rose through ranks to become a Major General and appointed the Commander Kenya Air Force on 15 July 2018 a post he has served for three years. Previously he has held various appointments in Training, Command and Staff including Deputy Commander Kenya Air Force, Base Commander Laikipia Air Base, Commanding Officer of Tactical Fighter Wing, Chief Flying Instructor at Kenya Air Force Flying Training School and Operations Desk Officer at Kenya Air Force Headquarters.
  • He also served in the former Yugoslavia as an Observer and Military Information Officer from 1992 to 1993, as chairman of Military Christian Fellowship from 1994 to 2004 and co-Chair of Association of African Air Chiefs between 2018-2019.
  • He is married to Aileen, and blessed with two children and a grandson. His hobbies include reading and playing golf.

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