At least 10 people died and more than 80 were injured in blasts and protests in Ethiopia’s capital and the surrounding Oromiya region on Tuesday after popular musician and activist, Haacaaluu Hundessa, was shot dead in the capital, Addis Ababa, reported Reuters.
Addis Ababa’s police commissioner Geta Argaw said Haacaaluu, who was a prominent figure in the Oromo ethnic group, was shot dead at around 9:30 p.m. on Monday.
The singer was a former political prisoner who became a national figure during anti-government protests in Ethiopia that led to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who also belonged to the Oromo ethnic group, becoming prime minister in 2018.
Argaw said the police had arrested several suspect having connection with the killing, but did not provide names. The killing appeared well planned, police said. There were three separate bomb blasts in the capital Addis Ababa that killed several bystanders. Protests also erupted outside the U.S. embassy, prompting a security alert.
The authorities also shut down the internet connectivity in the country to curb the protests from spreading. Ethiopia’s government has previously been accused of shutting down internet and telecommunications services during elections and periods of unrest.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed paid condolences to Hachalu’s family on Tuesday. He confirmed that an investigation is underway but urged his citizens to keep the peace.
“We have lost a precious life,” Abiy said in a statement on his official Facebook page. “We are aware of the magnitude of this action and are paying attention to the activities in the country. Let’s express our grief by protecting ourselves and preventing any further crime.”
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner is currently facing the daunting task of limiting the spread of the coronavirus in Ethiopia.
International Rights Group, Amnesty International, called out the Ethiopian authorities to conduct prompt, thorough, impartial, independent and effective investigations into the killing of popular Oromo singer Hundessa, and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible.