Ethiopian singer buried amid unrest that has killed over 80

Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa was buried as unrest over his death triggered mass riots killing over 80 people.

Hundessa’s funeral was held in his home town of Ambo, west of the capital.

The 34-year-old popular singer was attacked on Monday evening when he was driving on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa. The singer had earlier said that he received death threats. Thousands of his fans headed to the hospital in the city where the body of the singer was taken on Monday night.

Hachalu Hundessa was well known for his political songs. His music was focused on the rights of the country’s Oromo ethnic group and became anthems among protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

The funeral was held as troops were deployed in the capital, Addis Ababa, where armed gangs were roaming to target ethnic Oromos.

Reporters on the ground claim that ethnic tensions intensified after Hundessa’s killing.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his condolences saying on Twitter saying we “lost a precious life today” and describing the singer as “marvellous”.

The death and the protests come as political tensions rise following the indefinite postponement of elections due in August, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ths would’ve been the first electoral test for Mr Abiy after he came to power in April 2018.

The Oromo community is Ethiopia‘s largest ethnic group, have long complained of being neglected. Demonstrations erupted in 2016 and pressure built on the government. The ruling coalition eventually replaced then-Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn with Mr Abiy.

He has brought in a series of reforms, which have transformed what was considered a very oppressive state. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 primarily for making peace with long-time foe Eritrea, but his efforts in transforming Ethiopia were also recognised.