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Raila: Kenyans want thorough probe into chopper crash

Sunday April 21, 2024

Opposition leader Raila Odinga during the memorial service of late General Francis Ogolla at Ulinzi sports complex on April 20, 2024. Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for thorough investigations into the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla and nine other military officers.

Speaking at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Lang’ata, Nairobi during military honours and memorial service on Saturday, Raila said the investigations should establish why the helicopter came down.

“Because of the manner in which Ogolla died, a lot of rumours are flying all over. We want these rumours to be put to rest,” he stated.

Raila further said it was time the country took a look at the conditions of its military equipment.

“We have seen a number of these accidents over the last five to 10 years. There have been so many of these crashes,” he stated.

Ogolla was among the 10 officers who died in a helicopter crash on Thursday on the border between Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gichu counties.

The military aircraft had been on a visit to troops deployed in northwest Kenya to combat cattle rustling and came down just minutes after taking off near Cheptulel Boys Secondary School in West Pokot County.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

The government has already dispatched a team to probe the helicopter crash, which occurred shortly after take-off.

The investigators from Kenya Air Force and Directorate of Criminal Investigations have visited the scene of the crash to analyse the debris of the ill-fated plane.

Ogolla’s body will be flown to Ng’iya village, Alego Usonga subcounty in Siaya County on Sunday morning for burial the same day.

Two soldiers survived the crash and are in hospital.

Ogolla was previously the head of the Kenyan air force before rising to deputy military chief and then being promoted by Ruto last year to head the military.

The general joined the military in 1984 and trained as a fighter pilot with United States Air Force and as an instructor pilot at the Kenyan Air Force.

Raila also showered praises on the fallen general saying he served the country dutifully and diligently.

"By his conduct, Ogolla showed that he loved his country and was prepared to serve and die on behalf of this country. We take comfort in listening to his son talk about him and when I saw Joel talk there, I said this is a case of the general. We saw how simple the general was,” he stated.


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