At least 166 people died in violent protests that rocked Ethiopia in the days following the murder of popular singer Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, police said on Saturday.
The singer, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, the largest in Ethiopia, was shot dead Monday night in Addis Ababa by unknown assailants, fueling ethnic tensions threatening the country’s democratic transition.
“In the aftermath of Haacaaluu’s death, 145 civilians and 11 security forces lost their lives in the unrest in the region,” said Girma Gelam, deputy police commissioner for the Oromia region, in a statement on the company. State Fana Broadcasting.
Ten other people died in the capital Addis Ababa.
Girma said that 167 others had “suffered serious injuries” and that 1,084 people had been arrested.
Officials attributed the deaths to a combination of lethal force by security agents and inter-ethnic violence.
Girma added that the violent unrest has now “completely stopped”.
Haacaaluu’s music gave voice to Oromos’ widespread feeling of economic and political marginalization during years of anti-government protests that propelled Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018.