A popular Ethiopian musician was shot dead in the country's capital, Addis Ababa, local media reported, citing police. He was 36 years old.
Hachalu Hundessa, an ethnic Oromo also known as Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was shot in the town's Gelan Condominiums area on Monday, said Addis Ababa police commissioner.
Geta Argaw said the police arrested several suspects, affiliated to the state Broadcaster Fana reported on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his condolences, saying that Ethiopia "has lost a precious life".
"I express my deepest condolences to those who are deeply sad since the news of the death of the brilliant young artist Hachalu Hundesa," Fana told the prime minister. "We are waiting for full investigation reports of this evil act."
"We will express our condolences, staying safe and avoiding new crimes," said Abiy.
Ethiopians on social media, including the country's ambassador to Washington, expressed their shock at the death of the popular musician.
Deeply sad and shocked by the death of Hachalu Hundessa. We lost a great young artist. My thoughts and prayers are with Hachalu's family and friends
ናል ሃቻሉ ሁንዴሳ መቀጠፍ አዝአዝናል :: አዝ አዝ ለወዳጅ መዶቹ መዶቹ መጽናናትን
– Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) June 30, 2020
Last night we didn't just lose #HaacaaluuHundeessaa, husband, father of 3 children, son and brother; we lost the #Oromo nation's institution of conscience; a star who, through his music, was the melodic companion of the struggles, dreams and hopes for which we continue to live. R.I.P✊🏿 pic.twitter.com/tsn1mI6FXVAdvertisement
– Tsedale Lemma (@TsedaleLemma) June 30, 2020Advertisement
On Tuesday, young people enraged by the death of the musician, known for his protest songs, burned tires during demonstrations in Addis Ababa.
Hachalu, a former political prisoner, gained prominence during protracted protests against the government that prompted Abiy, a colleague from Oromo, to take office in 2018. The Oromo ethnic group, which has historically faced discrimination, led the mass protests.
Abiy's rise to power ended decades of domain of Tigray ethnic leaders this multi-ethnic African nation.
His government gave rise to greater political and economic freedoms in what had been one of the most repressive states on the continent. He received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending the conflict with neighboring Eritrea and its reforms.
But increased political activism has also led to increased unrest in a country made up of more than 80 ethnic groups. Abiy's government has often been challenged by local energy brokers who demand more access to land, energy and resources.
His pan-Ethiopian policy provoked a reaction from some elements of his own Oromo power base, led by a media tycoon, Jawar Mohammed.
"They didn't just kill Hachalu. They shot the heart of the Oromo Nation once again !! … You can kill us, all of us, you can never stop us! NEVER !!" Jawar posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
Clashes between police and Jawar supporters killed at least 78 people in October last year, after the government tried to remove Jawar's security details.
The elections scheduled for this year were postponed until next year due to COVID-19 in an agreement agreed with the main opposition parties.