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Renowned Oromo musician shot dead in Addis Ababa

By East Africa Correspondent , Garowe Online
Artist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa

ADDIS ABABA - A top singer, songwriter, and businessman from the Oromia region was gunned down by unknown people in Addis Ababa on Monday, authorities said, in an incident which has been termed as "assassination" by several prominent people in Ethiopia.

Hachalu Hundesa, 36, was shot dead along Gelan Condominiums in Addis Ababa, adding to many prominent people who have fallen to the bullet under controversial circumstances, in a nation current undergoing sweeping reforms under progressive Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed.

Ahmed, 43, a Nobel Peace Prize award winner for 2019, has however been facing internal criticism from a section of opposition bigwigs who among others, accuse him of stifling democracy and the rule of law, a claim which he has repeatedly denied.

Police reports indicate that the slain singer died at Tirunesh Beijing General Hospital where he had been admitted after the incident. News about his death spread on social media triggering condemnation from netizens, with some directly linking his elimination to internal politics.

Getu Argaw, the federal republic of Ethiopia's Police Commissioner, told EBC that Hachalu was killed by gunmen at Akaki Kality Sub City Wereda 4 near the Galan Condominium site, adding that investigations have since commenced to establish the motive of his assassination.

According to the police boss, "some suspects" are already under police custody but he did not immediately reveal the number and the identity. He asked Ethiopians to be "calm as we establish the circumstances surrounding his death".

On his Twitter, PM Dr. Ahmed, who also hails from the Oromia region, condemned the death, adding that investigative agencies were trying to unravel the puzzle on the death, adding that the assassins will be brought to book.

"I express my condolences to all those who are grieving the loss of this incredible shining young artist Hachalu. We are expecting conclusive report on his death any time from now. This is completely unacceptable," he noted.

"We are keenly paying attention to events happening in the country. Let's express our grievances while taking care of ourselves and preventing additional crimes," added the Nobel laureate, who is likely to face a backlash at his Oromia home.

Last year, the musician was declared Oromia Personality of the Year, following his contributions to the community, which is among the largest tribe in the Horn of Africa nation. His personality has been described as one of the best and there were reports that he was eyeing a seat.

Since Abiy took over the reigns of power in 2018, restlessness has been reported in Oromo region, contrary to expectations that residents would have solidly supported his leadership. In November last year, close to 100 people were killed by the police following protests in the region.

Dr. Abiy had fallen out with media entrepreneur Jawar Mohammed, who significantly contributed to his ascendancy to power. The protests erupted when Jawar's guards were reportedly withdraw by the authorities under unclear circumstances.

The businessman described Hachalu's death as "tragic loss" to Oromo nation, while naming four other people from the area who have been killed under controversial circumstances. He did not however, link anyone to the death.

"They did not just kill Hachalu. They shot at the heart of the Oromo Nation, once again !! It was Tadesse Biru, Haile Fida, Elemo Qilxuu, Eebbisaa Addunyaa...now Hacaaluu! You can kill us, all of us, you can never ever stop us!! NEVER," he said.

Ethiopia was scheduled to go for elections in August this year but die to raging novel Coronavirus pandemic, the National Elections Board of Ethiopia [NEBE] postponed them to next year. Tigray region has however, vowed to continue with the exercise.


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