‘More than 80 killed’ in Ethiopia unrest after singer shot dead

More than 80 people have been killed in unrest in Ethiopia after a popular singer was shot dead this week, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation says.

The report, citing police in the Oromia region, follows the killing of Hachalu Hundessa on Monday. He had been a prominent voice in anti-government protests that led to a change in leadership in 2018.

Protests, including three bomb blasts, followed his death in the capital, Addis Ababa.

He is being buried in his hometown of Ambo on Thursday. Police said three people had been arrested in his death.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>The funeral for Ethiopia singer Hachalu Hundessa (OBN via AP)</figcaption>
The funeral for Ethiopia singer Hachalu Hundessa (OBN via AP)

The singer’s killing further raised tensions in Ethiopia, where the government recently delayed the national election, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

The mood was tense are fearful in Addis Ababa as some residents formed protection groups to defend their property from vandals. Hundreds of cars have been burned or damaged. City streets were largely empty apart from fire engines and ambulances.

Internet and mobile data service remain cut in Ethiopia as human rights groups raise concerns about the restrictions. The shutdown has “made it impossible to access information on those killed and injured in the protests,” Human Rights Watch said.

Other arrests this week include that of a well-known Oromo activist, Jawar Mohammed, and more than 30 supporters. The arrest of opposition figures “could make a volatile situation even worse,” Human Rights Watch said,

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in 2018 after the anti-government protests, has seen his administration’s sweeping political reforms challenged as the loosening of political space opened the way for ethnic and other grievances, leading in some cases to deadly intercommunal violence.

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