President William Ruto has declared 3 days of mourning starting Friday in honour of the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Major-General Francis Omondi Ogolla who lost his life in the line of duty following an unfortunate incident in which the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) helicopter he boarded crashed at the Sindar area in Elgeyo Marakwet County on Thursday afternoon.

Ruto announced the passing of General Ogolla alongside 9 other gallant soldiers who were on board the ill-fated Huey military helicopter of Thursday evening at State House after holding an emergency security chief's meeting.

"Today, at 2:20 pm, our nation suffered a tragic air accident in Sindar area, Keben location, Tot division, in Elgeyo Marakwet County. I am deeply saddened to announce the passing on of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces," the president announced.

According to Ruto, the aircraft crashed shortly after departing from Chesegon for the Recruits Training School in Uasin Gishu County, where the General was scheduled to inspect construction facilities at the institution.

The identity of the other military personnel who lost their lives in the tragic incident were confirmed as follows."

Brigadier Swale Saidi, Colonel Duncan Keittany, Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe, Major George Benson Magondu, Captain Sora Mohamed, Captain Hillary Litali, Senior Sergeant John Kinyua Mureithi, Sergeant Cliphonce Omondi, and Sergeant Rose Nyawira. 

Two other occupants of the aircraft survived the crash albeit with serious injuries.

Ogolla and his entourage left Nairobi on Thursday morning for a working tour of the region where he among other activities addressed troops at the Kainuk Forward Operating Base in Turkana and launched the rehabilitation of Cheptulel Boys High School before boarding the aircraft for what was to be the last time to Chesegon.

Apart from declaring the three days of national mourning, the president also ordered the Kenyan, KDF, and East African Community flags to be hoisted at half-mast within the country and all Kenyan missions abroad.

"In honour of the life and the distinguished military career of the fallen general, who lost his life not just while in office, but in active military duty, the nation will observe a period of 3 days of mourning commencing tomorrow 19th April 2024," the president declared.

"During this time of national mourning, the Kenyan flag, the Kenya Defence Forces Flag, and the Eastern Africa community flag shall fly at half-mast in the Republic of Kenya and Kenya missions abroad."

Kenyans from all corners have taken to social media to express their grief at the loss of lives from the tragic incident while praising Ogolla for his distinguished service in the Kenyan military.