Policemen arrested leading Oromo activist,Jawar Mohammed, an influential opposition leader yesterday in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital. His arrest is likely to steer an uproar amongst his enthusiasts in Oroma who would demand his release. Residents in Oroma have been demonstrating following the death of Hachalu, a famous human activist. Jawar’s arrest could trigger more protests that may worsen the situation.
Why did the police arrest Oromo activist?
Although influential, Jawar just joined the opposition party, Oromo Federalist. He is a media magnet, owing to his fame. Most of his political career he spends fighting for human rights, defending the people of Oromia, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. Due to his rapport with the people, he supported Prime Minister Abiy to the top.
The chief of federal police stated they arrested Jawar the previous day with 34 men. At the time of his arrest, he was conflicting over the body of a prominent singer, Hachalu, with security forces. Jawar and his supporters demanded they return the deceased to Addis Ababa. However, the security forces wanted to take the body to its native town of Ambo. In an attempt to sabotage the burial, policemen arrested Jawar and his group.
“Thirty-five people including Jawar Mohammed have been arrested. The security forces have taken eight Kalashnikovs, five pistols, and nine radio transmitters from Jawar Mohammed’s car,” Endeshaw said.
During the altercation, a special police force from Oromia died from gunshots.
“There was a disturbance between Federal security forces and others, and in the process, one member of the Oromia special police force died,” Endeshaw said.
How did Jawars party members react to his arrest?
Members of the Oromo Federalist Party are concerned about Jawar’s arrest. They told BBC Afaan Oromoo service they haven’t visited them due to security reasons. Since Jawar is among the leading opposition members, whom the public loves there is a probability the police will release him.
Who is Hundesa and, what caused his death?
Hachalu Hundesa is a famous Oromo singer. The 34-year-old succumbed from the injuries he sustained from gunshots. Reports reveal his shooting occurred as he was driving. Although there is no clear motive behind his killing, police have arrest two suspects. They are trying to figure if the suspects belong to a rebel group that is active in Southern Oromia. The songs of Hachalu served as anthems, unifying the Oromo ethnic groups when they protested against leaders. In 2018, the songs served as a weapon in overthrowing the previous prime minister.
In his songs, Hachalu advocated for the rights of the people of Oromia. Therefore, many regarded him as a public figure. 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.” During his teens, the police imprisoned him for five years for taking part in demonstrations.
Following his death, authority shut down internet connections in different parts of the country to hinder the news of his death from spreading. However, thousands are in mourning after receiving news of his death.