Kenyan Security Minister Killed in Helicopter Crash

George Saitoti and his deputy were killed as police helicopter crashes into a forest just outside the capital.

Kenya's minister for internalsecurity George Saitoti and his deputy were killed when a policehelicopter crashed into a forest just outside the capital, thegovernment said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga's spokesman said Odinga had beeninformed of the deaths of Saitoti and his deputy, Orwa Ojode.

A former long-serving vice president under the formerPresident Daniel Arap Moi, Saitoti was also a presidentialcandidate in an election expected to be held by March next year.

A Reuters photographer counted three charred bodies at thescene of the crash in a forest in the Ngong area just outside ofNairobi.

Debris of the burnt-out blue police helicopter was strewnin the brush where government officials and curious localsjostled to catch a glimpse.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. Morepeople were feared to have been on board the helicopter.

Saitoti, an ally of President Mwai Kibaki, was the leadinggovernment voice against Somali militants al Shabaab, oftenvisiting the scenes of grenade attacks inside Kenya and vowingthe east African nation would crush the group.

Kenya's troops have been fighting al Shabaab in neighbouringSomalia since last October. The militants have killed severalpeople in a string of grenade attacks in Nairobi, the far northand the coast in retaliation to Kenya's moves against them.

George Saitoti - AFP - June 2012