Ruto condoles with the families of eight KDF soldiers who perished in a chopper crash at Boni forest in Lamu County.
President William Ruto has sent a message of condolence to the families of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers who lost their lives after the helicopter they were in crashed in Lamu County.
Ruto referred to the soldiers in a statement he released on Tuesday, September 19, as heroes for their valor in preserving Kenya’s sovereignty.
“Our condolences to the families and friends on the heartbreaking loss of our heroes in the Lamu helicopter crash. We honour their bravery in defending and protecting Kenya’s sovereignty. Our prayers are with the Kenya Defence Forces and all those that have been affected by the tragedy, “said Ruto.
KDF had earlier on Tuesday said the helicopter crashed on Monday night while on patrol in Lamu County.
The patrol is part of government measures to pacify Boni forest, which has become a hideout of suspected al-Shabaab militia.
“The crew and other military personnel onboard were part of an air surveillance squadron intensifying day and night patrols and surveillance for the ongoing operation Amani Boni,” KDF said in a statement.
KDF also said a board of inquiry into the cause of the tragedy has been constituted and dispatched to the scene to establish the course of the crash.
“The leadership and entire KDF fraternity condole with the families of the crew,” it added.
The exact number of crew members dead is not known as KDF did not provide the information.
Other sources said the chopper was flying from Somalia when it crashed in Boni Forest.
“They were personnel returning from Somalia when it went down. We don’t know why it crashed,” said an official aware of the incident.
Kenyan troops are in Somalia under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) to help in fighting the al-Shabaab terror group. KDF went to Somalia in October 2011.
There are plans to withdraw the troops from the area and let Somalia take over.
The terror group has increased attacks in Kenya in a renewed trend that has left dozens of people dead in the past months alone near the Kenya-Somalia border.