Kenya's Military Chief General Francis Ogolla Dead in Plane Crash

General Francis Ogolla died in a helicopter crash on April 18, 2024.

Nairobi — Kenya is in mourning following the death of its military chief, General Francis Omondi Ogolla in a plane crash.

Ogolla perished Thursday alongside five other senior military officials in a helicopter crash that went up in flames in Elgeyo Marakwet, police sources said.

According to police, the plane carrying General Ogolla and other commanders took off from a primary school in Elgeyo Marakwet shortly after 2pm. Witnesses say it went down at Kaben area shortly afterwards.

"It is so unfortunate what has happened, we have lost top officials, including General Ogolla," a senior police officer told Capital FM News.

Following the tragedy, President William Ruto summoned an urgent National Security Council meeting ahead of a formal announcement.

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. 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.

Ogilla 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. 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.

General Ogolla's untimely passing leaves a void in the nation's military leadership, and he will be remembered for his exceptional service, dedication, and contributions to Kenya's defence and security.

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