Three killed during protests over killing of well-known singer in Ethiopia

Protests turn violent after Ethiopian activist killing

A hugely popular Oromo language singer-activist and songwriter Hatchalu Hundessa has been killed by unidentified gunmen, police said early Tuesday.

The singer was rushed to hospital but died later of his wounds.

The unrest, which prompted government to switch off the internet in the capital, highlighted ethnic tensions that threaten to derail Ethiopia's fraught democratic transition, overseen by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Subsequently, with the help of security forces, the coffin was taken by helicopter to Ambo and the Oromia Police has arrested 35 people in connection with the deadly standoff, the commissioner said. He said automatic weapons and walkie-talkies carried by the bodyguards of Jawar have also been seized.

A police officer was also killed during a stand-off with the bodyguards of media magnate Jawar Mohammed, he said. They shot at the heart of the Oromo Nation, once again!.You can kill us, all of us, you can never ever stop us!

"They did not just kill Hachalu".

While the coffin was on its way from St. Paul's Hospital in Addis Ababa to Ambo town upon family's request, the group stopped it at Burayu and brought it to Addis Ababa, the commissioner said.

Hundesssa's ballads such as "Maalan Jira" ("What existence is mine") and "Jirraa" ("We are here"), he expressed the struggle and frustrations of Oromo protesters but equally their hopes for a brighter future. Most had been shot but some had been beaten or stabbed.

Thousands of his fans headed to the hospital in the city where the body of the singer was taken on Monday night, BBC Afaan Oromo's Bekele Atoma reports. AS can not verify the authenticity of the pictures as of yet.

The internet has also been shut down in parts of the country as the protests spread in Oromia regional state.

In Harar, the capital of Harari regional state, protesters have toppled down an equestrian statue of Ras Makonnen (1852 - 1906), who was the father of Emperor Haile Selassie I, and was the first governor of the city of Harar.

With his political lyrics, he was seen as a voice of the Oromo people during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018.

Haacaaluu, a former political prisoner, rose to prominence during anti-government protests which began in the Oromo heartland.

Abiy ushered in greater political and economic freedoms in what had always been one of the continent's most repressive states, and won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

The Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, have long complained of political and economic marginalisation.

Jawar has spearheaded a backlash against Abiy's determination to forge a pan-Ethiopian politics. Local power brokers competed for access to land and resources in a country with more than 80 ethnic groups.

Elections were scheduled for August but were postponed until next year due to COVID-19.

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