Singer’s murder: Normalcy returning to Ethiopia capital, AU speaks, net still blocked

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ADDIS ABABA, July 4 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Four days since the murder of famed Oromo entertainer Hachalu Hundessa, normalcy is returning to the Ethiopian capital after the last few days of deadly protests, bomb blasts and deployment of the army to curb rising violence.

Many businesses and offices in Addis Ababa have reopened as of Friday morning. The city mayor had on Thursday evening addressed the populace urging people to get back to work.

The Africa LIVE page also says public transport has also resumed, amid heavy security presence on the streets. Clashes, especially in the capital, led to the death of ten people with police quoted as saying there were active plans to incite communal violence.

The funeral of Hundessa was held Thursday in his hometown of Ambo, in the Oromia region amid heavy security presence. Two people died in scuffles with security forces.

His death reignited tensions across Africa’s second most populous nation. Demonstrations resulted in the deaths of 81 people and increased political and communal tensions was only curbed by the deployment of the military.

Internet remains blocked for a fourth consecutive day according to Net Blocks, a net rights group monitoring the outage.

“Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm that internet has been cut across most of Ethiopia from just after 6:00 a.m. UTC (9 a.m. local time) on Tuesday 30 June 2020 amid protests and unrest.

“Real-time data show that the country remains offline as of Friday morning 9:00 a.m. local time,” Netblocks added. The blockade has impacted the release of COVID-19 statistics which prior to July 1 were released on a daily basis.

Addis offices of three TV channels accused of instigating ethnic tensions and attacks have been shut even though they continue to broadcast from other studios; the three are Asrat, Oromia Media Network, OMN; and Dimsti Woyane.

OMN owner Jawar Mohammed who was arrested on Tuesday appeared before a court on Thursday. The court adjourned with Jawar to reappear on July 16. Bekele Garba who was arrested with him is due to reappear on July 13. Over 30 other people are in custody.

State broadcaster EBC also quoted an official of the Federal Attorney General office as confirming that journalist Eskinder Nega was arrested on suspicion of “instigating chaos,” he is accused of dispatching groups of youth with the aim to create chaos.

Jawar is currently an opposition politician with the Oromo Federalist Congress, OFC, whiles Eskinder is leading member of National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) and Balderas for Genuine Democracy.

Meanwhile, in the eastern city of Diredawa, where two people were killed in the aftermath of the musician’s killing, the police say they have arrested more than 270 people in connection with the violence.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat appeals for calm in Ethiopia, extending his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

While the country mourns the loss Hachalu Hundesa, Mahamat appeals for calm, restraint by all sides and calls on all Ethiopians to refrain from acts that could further escalate the current situation.

He calls on the Government of Ethiopia to bring the perpetrators of such heinous act to face justice and encourages all sides to resolve differences through dialogue and peaceful means in order to allow adequate efforts towards preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mahamat reaffirms its support to the government and people of Ethiopia in their efforts to promote a stable, peaceful and prosperous country. — NNN-AGENCIES