By: Precious Lesupi
Police have confirmed that about 166 people have been killed in violent protests over the killing of popular Oromo singer Haacaaluu Hundeessa.
According to deputy police commissioner of the Oromia region, Girma Gelam, 145 civilians and 11 security officers have lost their lives in the unrest. Another ten are said to have died in Addis Ababa. Girma added that a further 167 had sustained serious injuries and that 1,084 people had been arrested.
Haacaaluu, a pop-star and member of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, was shot dead by unknown attackers in Addis Ababa. This resulted in heightened ethnic tensions, thus threatening the country’s democratic transition. So far, five people have been arrested in connection to his murder.
Officials have attributed the deaths to a combination of lethal force by security officers and inter-ethnic violence. Three opposition leaders – including former media mogul Jawar Mohammed – have been arrested in connection with the violent unrest.
Haacaaluu, 36, was buried on Thursday under heavy police and military presence in his hometown, Ambo.