Calm restored in several towns in Oromo regional state of Ethiopia after days of violent attacks and protest,Ethiopian authorities
July 3, 2020
The latest string of deadly protest and violent attacks in the Oromo region of Ethiopia has claimed dozens of lives and destroyed properties worth millions of birr. There were lootings too.
The attack on human life or destruction of property targeted non-Oromo ethnic communities of Ethiopia as was the case in the past.
Protestors used machetes and sticks to attack defenseless people in different parts of the region. Some were killed during clashes with security forces.
Arsi Negele, Bale, Assela, Shasheme, Ambo, Nazret (Adama), and Nekemte are some of the towns that experienced deadly attacks. Businesses were attacked. Residential homes of non-ethnic Oromo Ethiopians ablaze.
Deputy Communication Head of Oromo region of Ethiopia, Gizachew Gabissa, confirmed to ESAT that as of Thursday the number of people killed since the news of Hachalu Hundessa’s killing has reached 100. However, the number is believed to be much higher as reports by citizens and eyewitness accounts have not been possible due to internet blockade in the country.
Gizachew also said that relative calm is restored in most of the towns except in Ambo, the birthplace of the slain singer, and where he was laid to rest on Thursday amid tight security. A group of young people who insisted that Hachalu should be buried in Addis Ababa (against the will of the family and Hachalu himself) clashed with deployed security forces.
A report by VOA Amharic on Thursday said nine people were wounded because of the clash between security forces and the youth group in the town. Two of them later died in Ambo General Hospital. It is unclear if the conditions of the rest wounded people are life-threatening or otherwise.
In the capital, Addis Ababa, at least eight people are reportedly killed. One of them was a law enforcement person who was reportedly killed by Jawar Mohammed’s bodyguard – as reported by the government.
Government authorities are claiming that the situation is returning to normal. Businesses have opened in the capital Addis Ababa on Friday. But it is unclear as to what exactly the situation is in the Oromo region where there was heightened tension. The Internet remained shut.
On July 3, The United Nations Human Rights Commission released a report expressing concern about the Ethiopian situation which it said is ethnically motivated violence. “We note with concern that the protests following Hundessa’s killing have increasingly taken on an ethnic undertone. We, therefore, call on all, including young people, to stop carrying out ethnically-motivated attacks and to stop inciting to violence, acts that only serve to exacerbate underlying tensions,” said the UN human rights commission.
Who Killed Hachalu Hundessa?
The 36 years old father of three children Ethiopian singer was shot dead on Monday near Gelan Condominiums in the capital Addis Ababa days after he appeared on Oromo Media Network (OMN) television, whose owner Jawar Mohammed is now in police custody.
Government officials and opposition figures like Kemal Gelchu, who is himself an ethnic Oromo, tend to believe that Hachalu Hudessa was made to appear on OMN television, and asked to respond to controversial topics as part of the set up for the assassination in order to make the killing appear as if it is orchestrated by ethnic Amhara.
Federal Police Commissioner, Endashaw Tassew, described the killing as a planned, organized, and very complicated one.
What is clear at this point is that the killing was planned in a way to spark large-scale ethnic violence between Oromo and Amharas. Three suspects are arrested. They appeared in court in Addis Ababa on Thursday. What is not clear is the question “who exactly is behind it?”
Most people speculated that the killing is a collaboration between Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Individuals who are exploiting ethnic Oromos position as ardent ethnic Oromo nationalists.
On the Day Hachalu was laid to rest, Oromo regional state acting president Shimelies Abdissa had an interview with Oromo Broadcasting Network (OMN) which is a state media. “People who were privileged to enter the country following the political change and those whom we have welcomed along with Hachalu collaborated in Hachalu’s death,” he said without naming names. For many, it appeared that he was making a reference to Jawar Mohammed, among others, who appeared in court on Thursday. Professor Mereara Gudina told Abbay Media that he approached government authorities to secure the release of Jawar.
Oromo Liberation Front -Shane and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) are also implicated in the assassination of Hachalu.
The Federal Attorney General, Adanech Abiebie, had a statement a few days ago. She said there is no intention to build democracy at the expense of the safety and lives of innocent citizens and at the expense of the country’s unity.
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