At least 50 people were killed in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region in protests following the fatal shooting of a popular singer, a regional spokesman said on Wednesday.
Musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was shot dead on Monday night in what police said was a targeted killing. Protests broke out the next morning in the capital and other cities in the Oromiya region.
The dead included protesters and members of the security forces, spokesman Getachew Balcha said. Some businesses had also been set on fire and ancient statues have also been pulled down.
The government has responded by cutting internet supply to the people, a tactic that has become synonymous to the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
“We were not prepared for this,” he said.
Police said late on Tuesday that a policeman was also killed in Addis Ababa, and three blasts had killed and injured an unspecified number of people.
Hachalu’s songs often focused on the rights of the country’s Oromo ethnic group and became anthems in a wave of protests in #Ethiopia that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.
His funeral is due to take place on Thursday.