How KDF Pilots Squashed Plan to Bomb State House

  • A military fighter jet being serviced Daily Nation
  • During the attempted coup in 1982, three pilots from the Kenya Defence Forces, all who are now deceased, were ordered at gunpoint to bomb State House but they conducted aerial maneuvers to scuttle the mission.

    According to Nation, the three pilots were rounded up from their homes by rebel soldiers who had already serviced and armed the jets they were ordered to use by the late Corporal Bramwel Injeni Njereman, an armaments technician with the Kenya Air Force

    Major David Mutua’s F/5F Tiger fighter jet was loaded with 500lb bombs, Captain John Baraza’s Strikemaster was armed with highly explosive antitank rockets while Captain John Mugwanja’s jet guns were loaded with ammunition.

    Military planes pass over Nyayo National Stadium during Jamhuri day celebrations

    The pilots went through all the motions of obeying their captor's instructions without any intention of carrying out the decisive order.

    "They were abductees on the ground but in charge in the air. Njereman had never flown in a jet before, much less a high-performance one like the F/5. Mutua decided to teach him a lesson,” a former Air Force pilot told Nation.

    Mutua indicated to his fellow abductees that they would perform aerobatics over Nairobi and then dump the bombs in Mt Kenya forest on their way back.

    All three pilots synchronized their flight plans. The F/5s took off together and were followed shortly by Baraza’s Strikemaster.

    They flew into Nairobi from Nanyuki airbase and then made a steep high-speed dive over Kasarani area before making a perpendicular assent at the same speed.

    Mutua knew that Njereman, their captor would not withstand the pressure difference. After the first drill, the gun dropped out of his hand.

    After three runs, the gunman was incapacitated and Mutua decided that it was safe to make the trip back home.

    In his state, Njereman had no way of knowing what his captives did over Mt Kenya forest.

    When they arrived back at the airbase, he looked dizzy and confused as he staggered out of the jet and announced to other servicemen that they had successfully bombed Nairobi.

    On November 24, 1982, after a trial lasting only nine days, the errant officer was convicted and sentenced to death for treason.

    Ex-Kenya Air Force servicemen display their discharge certificates after termination following the 1982 attempted coup