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Kenyan Declares Three Days of National Mourning for Military Chief,11 others

President William Ruto announced the death of Kenya’s military chief, Gen. Francis Ogolla, in a helicopter crash on Thursday, prompting a declaration of three days of national mourning. The incident occurred when a helicopter carrying 11 people, including Gen. Ogolla, crashed and caught fire in a remote area near the border with Uganda, resulting in the loss of nine lives onboard. The cause of the crash remains unclear.

Gen. Ogolla, 61, was on a tour of Kenya’s troubled western region, which has experienced frequent attacks by local bandits, when the accident happened. He assumed the role of Kenya’s Chief of Defense Forces in April of the previous year, following Gen. Robert Kibochi’s retirement.

Political controversy arose before his appointment, as Gen. Ogolla was accused by the country’s electoral commission chairperson of being part of a national security council delegation that attempted to manipulate the outcome of the 2022 general election against President Ruto. However, Ruto clarified that he believed Gen. Ogolla was the most qualified for the position, despite the election controversy.

Gen. Ogolla had a 40-year career in Kenya’s military force. He was an alumnus of École Militaire de Paris, the National Defence College of Kenya, Egerton University, and the University of Nairobi. He is survived by his wife Aileen, two children, and a grandson.

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