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Kenyan military chief dies in helicopter crash, says president

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Kenya’s military chief, Francis Ogolla, died in a helicopter crash in the western part of the country on Thursday, President William Ruto announced in a televised address.

The helicopter crashed shortly after take-off on Thursday afternoon local time, killing Ogolla and nine other members of the military, Ruto said. Two people survived the crash, he added.

“I am deeply saddened to announce the passing on of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces,” he said.

A team of investigators has been dispatched to the site of the crash in Elgeyo Marakwet County to determine the cause of the accident, Ruto said.

Ogolla departed Nairobi on Thursday to visit troops in the North Rift region of the country and to inspect ongoing school renovations, the president said.

Following the crash, Ruto convened an urgent meeting of the country’s National Security Council in Nairobi, according to presidential spokesperson Hussein Mohamed.

“For me, as the Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, it is a tragic moment for the Kenya Defence Forces fraternity and it is a most unfortunate day for the nation at large,” Ruto said.

“Our motherland has lost one of her most valiant generals. We have also lost gallant officers, servicemen, and women,” he added.

Kenya will observe three days of mourning beginning on Friday, Ruto said.

According to state broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), Ogolla is the first Kenyan military chief to die in active service. The general joined the Kenya Defence Forces in 1984, becoming 2nd Lieutenant in 1985 before being posted to the Kenya Air Force, according to the Ministry of Defence website.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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