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General Ogolla’s Last Moments Before The Chopper Crash

General Ogolla left Nairobi on Thursday morning aboard Kenya Air Force Huey Helicopter, to visit troops deployed in the North Rift under Operation Maliza Uhalifu, and to inspect the ongoing school renovations works.

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General Francis Ogolla inspecting his last quarter guard moments before walking to board the ill feted chopper.

Thursday morning was a normal day for the now late General Francis Omondi Ogolla, he walked into the ill feted helicopter for a call of duty in the banditry ridden North Rift, unknown to him, that trip would be his last.

General Ogolla left Nairobi on Thursday morning aboard Kenya Air Force Huey Helicopter, to visit troops deployed in the North Rift under Operation Maliza Uhalifu, and to inspect the ongoing school renovations works.

As part of his working tour, the CDF had been briefed on the security situation by a multi-agency team stationed at Chesitet in Baringo County, after which he proceeded to the Kainuk Forward Operating Base in Turkana County, where he addressed troops, commending them for their resilience and operational
successes.

The CDF and his entourage departed from Kainuk to Chesegon, West Pokot County, where he launched the rehabilitation of Cheptulel Boys High School.

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Take off

Shortly after taking off at Chesegon along the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties, the plane carrying the CDF and his entourage dropped from the skies and burst into flames.

The tragic crash happened at 2:20pm in Sindar area, Kaben location, Tot Division in Elgeyo Marakwet where Evans Kipkosgei, a resident, recounted hearing a bang before the chopper was consumed in fire near Liter Girls Secondary School.

It’s reported to have crashed barely two kilometres after taking off. The scene was immediately cordoned off by KDF officers stationed in the Kerio Valley as some burnt bodies were removed from the wreckage.

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Survivors

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According to reports, only two people survived the crash. General Ogolla is among those who died on the spot. Others were Brigadier Swale Saidi, Colonel Duncan Keittany, Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe, Major George Benson Magondu, Captain Sora Mohamed, Captain Hillary Litali, Senior Sergeant John Kinyua Mureithi, Sergeant Cliphonce Omondi and Sergeant Rose Nyawira.

Those who were rescued from the ill-fated chopper were rushed to Endo Mission Hospital before being airlifted to Eldoret.

Locals say there has been a heavy presence of military personnel in the area since Wednesday. “The military has been on a mission along the volatile borders. Yesterday (Wednesday) three KDF choppers were spotted here,” a resident told the media.

Other locals who rushed to the accident scene said there was smoke when the ill-fated chopper hit the ground. “It was difficult for the KDF rescue team to pull out a woman who was on board the ill-fated chopper,” said one resident.

Residents said Sindar is a banditry hotspot. According to locals, tension was high prior to the accident and one person had been shot dead by suspected cattle rustlers early in the day.

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Apart from monitoring the Maliza Uhalifu Operation, General Ogolla was visiting Chesitet Primary School, Cheptulel Boys High School, Chepoton Primary School, Ksaa Primary School and Sablimoi Primary School, being renovated by the military.

Earlier, the CDF had been briefed on the security situation by a multi-agency team stationed at Chesitet in Baringo County, after which he proceeded to Kainuk Forward Operating Base in Turkana County, where he addressed troops, commending them for their resilience and operational successes.

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General Ogolla and his entourage departed from Kainuk to Chesegon, West Pokot County, where he launched the rehabilitation of Cheptulel Boys High School.

KDF senior officials, including General Francis Ogolla, moments before the accident. They were walking to board the helicopter.

KDF senior officials, including General Francis Ogolla, moments before the accident. They were walking to board the helicopter.

General Ogolla, who took over from General Robert Kibochi in April 2023 when he was appointed by President Ruto, had a distinguished career spanning decades.

A fighter jet pilot by training, he joined the Kenya Defence Forces in April 1984 and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in May 1985, starting his journey in the Kenya Air Force.

Throughout his illustrious career, General Ogolla rose through the ranks, taking on various challenging assignments.

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He underwent extensive training, including as a fighter pilot and instructor pilot with the United States Air Force, and received instruction in areas such as imagery intelligence, counter-terrorism, and accident investigation.

Ogolla held a Diploma in International Studies and Military Science from Egerton University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Armed Conflict, and Peace Studies (First Class Honours), and a Master of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of Nairobi. He further honed his skills at prestigious institutions like the École Militaire de Paris and the National Defence College of Kenya.

Throughout his career, General Ogolla held various key positions, including Deputy Commander of the Kenya Air Force, Base Commander of 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.

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His leadership and expertise were instrumental in developing and implementing training programs and operational strategies that significantly enhanced the effectiveness of the Kenya Air Force and the Kenya Defence Forces as a whole.

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