Tensions rise as prominent singer shot dead in Ethiopian capital

The fatal shooting of a prominent Ethiopian singer in the capital Addis Ababa sparked rising tensions in the city on Tuesday, with calls for demonstrations circulating online.

Hachalu Hundessa was shot and killed in the city’s suburb of Gelan Condominiums on Monday evening, local media reported.

The killing has reportedly sparked unrest.

On Tuesday, a dpa reporter said the internet had been shut down, major roads were blocked, tyres were being burned and smoke was seen billowing across the city.

The German Embassy in Addis Ababa sent out a warning, advising people to avoid large crowds and driving through the city, citing calls for demonstrations on social media.

The context to the singer’s death was not initially clear, although the embassy said Hundessa’s supporters had blamed security forces and “assume a political motive” for the crime.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his condolences and tweeted that an investigation was currently under way.

Hachalu’s music is considered by many to advocate the rights of Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group, the largest in the multi-ethnic state, who have long believed they are being neglected by government.

Ongoing protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions ultimately led to the resignation of the head of government and Abiy taking office in April 2018.

Abiy, who is also Oromo, is regarded as a reformer and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for, among other things, his attempts to pacify the region.

However, ethnic tensions and conflicts in the country have increased again under his rule.


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