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  • The Oromo people have largely claimed the historical exclusion of the country´s political landscape.

    The Oromo people have largely claimed the historical exclusion of the country´s political landscape. | Photo: AFP

Published 1 July 2020
Opinion

Hachalu Hundessa songs, which championed the rights of the Oromo people, became a symbol to uprisings back in 2018

At least 81 people have been killed in Oromia amidst protests over the assassination of singer Hachalu Hundessa, on Wednesday, said the region's chief police Ararsa Merdasa in a televised press conference.

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Hundessa, a singer and political activist known for political songs advocating for the rights of the Oromo people, was shot dead late on Monday night.

The police said that although the reasons behind the assassination remain unclear, they have arrested two people related to the killing so far.

The homicide of the artist sparked a two-day wave of demonstrations against repression as the Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, have long complained of being marginalized.

Hachalu Hundessa's songs, which championed the rights of the Oromo people, became a symbol of uprisings back in 2018 that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister Hailemariam Desalegne.

 
"I express my condolences to his family, friends, and the whole country, expressing my sincere condolences for the artist's death."

The military has been deployed in the capital, Addis Ababa, and the Internet was shut down in some parts of the country as more uprisings are expected ahead of the funeral on Thursday.

The police also said that 35 people were arrested, including the media mogul and politician Jawar Mohammed, after he and his followers tried to stop the transfer of Hachalu's body to his native town of Ambo, west of Addis Ababa, and attempted to take it back to the capital instead.

The Oromo people have primarily claimed the historical exclusion of the country's political landscape. After the demonstrations of 2018, Abiy Ahmed Ali was confirmed as prime minister and head of the coalition party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. Then, he became the first Oromo leader to head the coalition in 27 years.

During a statement read in the national broadcaster Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp. Prime Minister Abiy remarked that "no one is above the law" and urged the nation to be united.

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