Hachalu Hundessa: Anger erupts after Ethiopian protest singer killed

Demonstrations have broken out in parts of Ethiopia following the shooting dead of musician Hachalu Hundessa, well known for his political songs.

Seven have died during the spontaneous protests, medics told the BBC.

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

The 34-year-old had said that he had received death threats.

The police are now investigating the killing, which took place on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, and several people have been arrested.

Thousands of his fans headed to the hospital in the city where the body of the singer was taken on Monday night, BBC Afaan Oromo’s Bekele Atoma reports.

Crowds on the streets in Addis Ababa, EthiopiaImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionCrowds of people came out to mourn the singer in Addis Ababa

To them, he was a voice of his generation that protested against decades of government repression, he says.

Presentational grey line

‘More than an entertainer’

By Bekele Atoma, BBC Afaan Oromo

Hachalu Hundessa

Hachalu was more than just a singer and entertainer.

He was a symbol for the Oromo people who spoke up about the political and economic marginalisation that they had suffered under consecutive Ethiopian regimes.

In one of his most famous songs, he sang: “Do not wait for help to come from outside, a dream that doesn’t come true. Rise, make your horse ready and fight, you are the one close to the palace.”

The musician had also been imprisoned for five years when he was 17 for taking part in protests.

Many like him fled into exile fearing persecution but he remained in the country and encouraged the youth to struggle.



  1. RIP

    Ethnic Oromo political parties should all join as one to prevent such acts of taking dead bodies of our heroes back and forth as if we Oromos got different views towards how or where we honor our fallen heroes, we Oromos need to join forces and prevent miscommunications amongst ethnic Oromo political parties.

    We Oromos need to honor the braves fallen Oromo heroes in one accord by becoming organized under one political party umbrella in the honor of our fallen Oromo heroes who struggled for all Oromos, the struggle was not just for one ethnic Oromo political party only, it was for all Oromos.


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