The Ethiopian capital and the Oromia region, on Tuesday, were the scene of violent clashes between police and Oromo demonstrators. They were white-hot by the murder of the singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa himself, a member of this majority group of the Ethiopian population. Three people were killed in the clashes.
Residents of Addis Ababa yesterday witnessed scenes of violence between Oromo people from the Oromia region and law enforcement officials.
The violence, which has not spared the Oromia region itself, has caused three deaths in the town of Adama, according to Dr. Desalegn Fekadu, a surgeon at a hospital in the city, who told AFP: “There are many victims, most of them by bullets. Three patients have died, and there are still some in critical condition”.
Some people sustained serious injuries: “There are also more than ten patients with burns. They reported that their houses had been burned down,” he concludes. The scale of the protests led authorities to shut down the Internet in Addis Ababa and other parts of the country.
At the root of this discontent was the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa last night, a famous singer and defender of the Oromo group to which he belongs.
Although the motive for the crime is still unknown, “suspects” have nevertheless been arrested, according to Addis Ababa police chief Getu Argaw. The Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, himself an Oromo – but contested by the nationalists of this group who accuse him of not defending the interests of his community enough – and moreover the first Oromo to hold this post, lamented the loss of “this precious life”, and ordered the opening of an investigation quickly. His words were echoed by Adanech Abebe, Attorney General, who promised that “no one would escape justice”.
These events rekindle the dissensions which have, for ages, opposed the various sociolinguistic groups of Ethiopia, particularly the Amhara and the Oromo.
The latter, although more numerous, always felt marginalized as Hachalu Hundessa said, in one of his songs: “We Oromo have done all we can, we have done our best, we can do no more. We have served the little people and the big people so that we can live together, but we can no longer tolerate that.”