Military goes after Locals Who Stole From Fallen KDF Soldiers After Plane Crash

The incident of theft involving Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) equipment occurred amidst the chaotic rush of members of the public to the site of a helicopter crash. This unfortunate event led to the loss of Chief of Defence Forces Gen Francis Ogolla and eight of his colleagues. In response, a military investigation team, led by Laikipia Airbase Commander Brig Mohamed Salah Farah, has been convened to scrutinize the circumstances surrounding the helicopter crash that transpired on April 18.

Investigators have commenced visits to nearby villages near the crash site located at the Kaben-Cheptulel border, situated between Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot in the North Rift region, known for its history of banditry. Their aim is to recover the pilfered items. Among the items reclaimed are watches, mobile phones, and shoes, suspected to have been taken by those who responded first to the scene.

Some of the mobile phones were observed to be intermittently powered on and off, suggesting that those in possession of them were cautious about being traced for possessing stolen goods.

The family of General Ogolla expressed that the sole item handed over to them by the military from the crash site was his wedding ring.

It has been reported that some bodies recovered from the site were found intact, while others had sustained burns due to the crash shortly after takeoff.

An official stated, “Some of these people are walking around with the valuables, including mobile phones and shoes of the victims,” underscoring the importance of these items for the ongoing investigation.

Efforts are being made to engage local leaders to assist in communicating with the responders who have not yet surrendered the stolen items.

The police are also actively involved in the investigation. One of the items the probe team is keen on recovering is the fallen General’s Bible, which has been reported missing since the crash.

During the memorial service for the fallen General at the Ulinzi Sports Complex in Lang’ata, Nairobi, his son Joel made a heartfelt plea to recover his father’s cherished Bible, expressing a desire to keep it as a keepsake.

He recounted how his father valued his Bible, often engaging the family in Bible competitions. “Somewhere amidst the wreckage of the helicopter lies his Bible, his most cherished possession,” Joel continued, paying tribute to his father.

Joel also implored the investigating team to do their utmost to retrieve the Holy Book.

Leaders have called for a thorough investigation into the crash to eliminate any suspicions of foul play.

President William Ruto assured that the investigation into the crash would be conducted transparently, with the findings made public.

Speaking at Senator Barack Obama’s Primary School in Siaya during the service, Ruto expressed confidence in the military’s professionalism in probing the helicopter crash. He emphasized his commitment to ensuring transparency in the investigation process.

The President reiterated his stance against extrajudicial killings or political assassinations, affirming that such acts would not be tolerated under his administration.

Leaders emphasized the importance of disclosing the investigation results to the public, allowing closure for the Nyanza region, which has experienced the loss of numerous esteemed individuals in the past. Siaya Senator and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s elder brother, Oburu Oginga, stressed the need for a thorough investigation into Gen. Ogolla’s death, leaving no stone unturned.