Two Journalists Recount Chilling Chopper Rides With KDF in Somalia

  • Nation Media Group (NMG) crime and investigative journalists Leila Mohammed and Mary Wambui recounted scary helicopter rides while covering Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) missions in Somalia. 

    Speaking during an interview on the Wicked Edition on February 25, the journalists recalled that despite preparing in advance and undergoing training before going to Somalia, there were still moments of scare and terror. 

    The two narrated surviving danger on the frontline including chilling helicopter rides while on different missions with KDF soldiers.

    Leila Mohammed with colleagues in Mogadishu

    Leila Mohammed with colleagues in Mogadishu.


    Leila Mohammed

    Wambui explained one instance where in an attempt to escape Rocket Propelled Grenades(RPG) their pilot had to fly at very low levels, where RPGs could not be launched.

    “There was some scare in Husingo and the pilot had to fly in a way to evade anything that is fired toward the chopper.

    The pilot flew the chopper too low for almost an hour, and we could see people walking on the ground. It felt like the place was going down,” Wambui narrated.

    In addition, Mohammed narrated another scary incident where the journalists and the KDF officers were squeezed into a helicopter that swayed constantly.

    “When we were leaving Nairobi, there were many of us in the helicopter and we had to sit close to each other with the officers the way people sit in some ‘matatus’.

    “So when the helicopter moved, we all swayed in one direction. The officers however told us that it was a normal occurrence,” Mohammed explained

    In a separate incident, the journalists recounted taking off in a chopper at a very high speed.

    “The plane had to accelerate as we took off and it was very scary. It felt like a rocket taking off,” Wambui stated

    “When we were coming back to Kenya, the majority of us on the aircraft were journalists and crew members so we could not scream,” Mohammed added.

    The two further stated that aside from the scare, they were well protected by the soldiers and officers in Somalia, allowing them to do their work less afraid. 

    “Before you leave the country you are given a brief. You are told what to expect, what may happen, how to behave, and all the rules you are expected to abide by.

    “We are protected at all times so we trust that we are safe,” Wambui noted.

    Other journalists drawn from different leading media houses in the country who have covered KDF missions include Citizen TVs Crime reporter Hassan Mugambi, Standard Group’s journalist George Maringa, and Citizen TVs camera person Mauritius Oduor.

    Photo collage of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers fast-roping from a military chopper

    Photo collage of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers fast-roping from a military chopper

    Omwamba/ Canva


Beryl Onyango

Beryl Onyango is a CPA and economics degree holder who has dedicated her career to helping others navigate the complex world of finance. Beryl has spent the past 3 years working as a finance specialist in a fintech company and has 6 years of experience in finance, working with a diverse range of clients and industries. Beryl's expertise lies in budgeting, saving, investing, and retirement planning, but she also has a deep understanding of various other areas of finance. She is interested in financial technology and how it changes how we manage our finances. As a finance writer, Beryl has been sharing her insights and knowledge through her writing, covering various finance and personal finance topics. Her goal is to educate and empower individuals to take control of their finances and achieve their financial goals. In addition to her professional experience, Beryl is a lifelong learner, always seeking to expand her knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in finance. She is also a strong communicator, able to explain complex financial concepts in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Beryl believes that financial literacy is the key to achieving financial success, and she is dedicated to helping others achieve their financial goals.

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