166 Protesters Killed Following Death Of Ethiopian Singer

Ethnic unrest in the aftermath of the killing of Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa has left at least 166 people dead, officials say.

A top police chief said 145 civilians and 11 security personnel died in Oromia region alone. Ten people have been killed in the capital Addis Ababa.

Hachalu, 34, was killed on Monday, sparking unrest that spread from Oromia where he was seen as a hero.

The motive remains unclear. Hachalu had said he had received death threats.

His songs focused on the rights of the country’s Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

Announcing the latest figures, Oromia deputy police commissioner Girma Gelam said 167 had “sustained serious injuries” during the unrest.

Mr Gelam said 1,084 people had been arrested, without providing further detail.

In his statement, the police official said the violent unrest had now “completely stopped”.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, himself an Oromo, who came to power in April 2018, has warned that those behind Hachalu’s death wanted to derail his reform programme.

“We have two choices as a people. To fall into the trap being set up by detractors or to deviate from their trap and stay on the course of reforms. Choosing the first is to willingly aid them in our demise,” the prime minister said.