Kenya’s government has sent a team to investigate the helicopter crash that killed military chief Gen Francis Ogolla and nine others.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash.

Gen Ogolla was among 12 occupants of the military aircraft that went down on Thursday afternoon shortly after take off in the north-west of the country.

The bodies of those who died were flown to Nairobi and the two survivors are being treated in hospital.

Announcing three days of national mourning, President William Ruto said the deaths were a “moment of great sadness” for the country.

Mr Ruto described his chief military adviser as a gallant officer who had died in the line of duty.

“Our motherland has lost one of her most valiant generals, gallant officers, service men and women,” Mr Ruto told the nation.

Gen Ogolla first joined the Kenya Defence Forces on 24 April 1984, according to the Kenyan defence ministry’s website.

He was due to mark 40 years in the military next week.

He began his career as a 2nd lieutenant in the country’s air force, where he trained as a fighter pilot with the US air force, the ministry says. In 2018, he became commander of the air force.

The nine others killed in the crash were named as Brig Swale Saidi, Col Duncan Keittany, Lt Col David Sawe, Maj George Benson Magondu, Capt Sora Mohamed, Capt Hillary Litali, Snr Sgt John Kinyua Mureithi, Sgt Cliphonce Omondi, and Sgt Rose Nyawira.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, said its “thoughts and prayers” went out to Kenya’s president, government and people following the “tragic helicopter accident”.

The officers had travelled to Kenya’s North Rift region, which has been plagued by banditry.

They were on a mission to reopen some of the schools closed following bandit attacks. They had also visited military officers deployed to stabilise the region.

In June 2021 at least 10 soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed while landing near the capital, Nairobi.

Source:bbc.com

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