Soldiers who died in KDF chopper crash laid to rest

Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale

The casket bearing the remains of Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale during his burial at Kamkata village in Mt Elgon, Bungoma County on July 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Emotions ran high as 35-year-old Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale was laid to rest at Kamkata village in Mt Elgon constituency, Bungoma County.
  • Sergeant Noah Wanyonyi Munialo, another victim of the air crash was buried on Tuesday at Matili in the neighbouring Kimilili constituency.

Residents of Kamkata village in Mt Elgon constituency, Bungoma County on Wednesday showed up in large numbers to bid farewell to one of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldier who perished in a chopper crash Kajiado two weeks ago.

Emotions ran high as 35-year-old Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale was laid to rest, with mourners disregarding government-imposed protocols on Covid-19 to pay their last respects to the fallen soldier.

Among the mourners were friends, relatives, local leaders and colleagues of the deceased.

Omale was among the 11 KDF soldiers who lost their lives on June 24 when a KDF helicopter crashed in Ol Tepesi, Kajiado County. According to KDF, the soldiers were on a routine military exercise when tragedy struck.

Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale

The casket bearing the remains of Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale during his burial at Kamkata village in Mt Elgon, Bungoma County on July 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

Sergeant Omale, who joined the military in 2007, who among those who suffered injuries during the accident. He was rushed to Defense Forces Memorial Hospital where he succumbed.

Thirteen other soldiers who were onboard the ill-fated aircraft survived the accident.

Omale’s widow eulogised him as a loving and caring husband, whose untimely demise she is yet to come to terms with.

“I’m yet to accept that you are no longer here with us. Everyday I wake up and see your cold empty space and the pain comes crushing me all over again,” the grieving widow eulogised the fallen soldier.

She further described her late husband as a very generous man, a peacemaker and the pillar of their family.

Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale

The casket bearing the remains of Sergeant Stephen Omarian Omale is lowered into the grave by fellow soldiers as clergymen look on during his burial at Kamkata village in Mt Elgon, Bungoma County on July 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

“My husband Stephen was an eternal optimist whose ever-ready smile melted our hearts. After the air crash he gallantly fought to his last breathe,” the widow said.

The couple’s son Reagan Omale, also delivered a moving eulogy describing his dad as his hero.

“You understood that doing good was pleasing to God… we are now wondering, did we thank you enough? Did you hug us enough? Did we say we love you enough?” 

The couple had two children together.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, who was among the mourners, said he was in the military with the deceased and that they related very well.

Sergeant Noah Wanyonyi Munialo

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers give a 21-gun salute during the burial of Sergeant Noah Wanyonyi Munialo at Matili in Kimilili Constituency on July 6, 2021.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

Another victim of the chopper crash was buried on Tuesday at Matili in the neighbouring Kimilili constituency.

Aircraft technician, Sergeant Noah Wanyonyi Munialo, 46, a father of six, was eulogised by his widow, Alice Wanyonyi, as a selfless man who dedicated his life to serving the military. 

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