Why Ethiopian gov’t arrested Jawar Mohammed

Jawar Mohammed and his followers forcefully returned Hachalu’s body to Addis Ababa against the will of his families, said police

Jawar Mohammed _ Hachalu _ Ethiopia
Jawar Mohammed. Photo credit : Reuters via VOA Amharic

June 30, 2020

Hours after Oromia Media Network announced the arrest of Jawar Mohammed, the Ethiopian government confirmed the news.

Ethiopian Federal Police and Oromia Police Commission had a joint statement on the issue.

Jawar and thirty-four other individuals are arrested for what the government says is a forceful attempt to return the body of slain Ethiopian Singer Hachalu Hundessa to the Capital Addis Ababa. Bekele Gerba, a senior Oromo Federalist Congress leader, is among those arrested.

The body was on the way to Hachalu’s hometown, Ambo, based on his parents’ request when Jawar and his followers intercepted it in Burayu area just outside of the capital Addis Ababa, snatched the body by force and returned it to Addis Ababa.  And then they proceeded to Prosperity Party’s (ruling party) office near Addis Ababa Stadium.

What is known at this point is that Jawar is arrested in connection with that incident.

Federal Police Commissioner Endashaw Tassew disclosed that eight AK 47 assault rifles, five guns, and nine walkie talkie radios have been seized from Jawar’s escorts or followers, as the commissioner called them, as reported by Deutsche Welle Amharic service.  

Hachalu Hundessa’s families and parents were hassled when Jawar’s crowd forcefully took away the body to return it to the capital claiming that he should be buried in the capital Addis Ababa – against the will of the family members. Some other individuals who consider themselves as “Oromo activists” voiced their views on social media saying Hachalu should be laid to rest in Addis Ababa but again that is not what the family wanted according to Oromia Regional State president, Shimeles Abdissa.

The government was compelled to take the body and his family members using helicopters to the birthplace of Oromo Music star and activist that Ethiopia lost on Monday in the evening.

In what seems to be a show of government determination to maintain the rule of law, Ethiopian Federal Police Commission Endashaw said that “no one is above the law.”

Jawar’s escort have reportedly exchanged fire with the Federal police in an attempt to protect their leader, according citizens report emerging on social media.

Jawar Mohammed, who is now a member of senior leadership in the Oromo Federalist Congress, used to claim that the movement he leads is a second government in the country.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government was hesitant to arrest Jawar even at a time when more than 86 people were killed in Oromo region of Ethiopia in late October 2019 after he triggered a crisis.

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