Ethiopia: Funeral Ceremony for Slain Oromo Artist Happening in Ambo Amid Tight Security

Haacaaluu Hundeessa’s music has given sound and voice to the Oromo struggle.

The funeral ceremony for slain Oromo singer/song writer Haacaaluu Hundeessaa is taking place amid tight security in his native city Ambo, some 107 km west of the capital Addis Abeba.

Following his assassination on Monday evening in Akaki Kality Sub City, Wereda 4, near Galan Condominium site here in the capital, confrontations erupted the next day between his fans who wanted him laid to rest in the capital Addis Abeba and authorities who said Haacaaluu's families wanted him buried in Ambo. The confrontations continued yesterday in Ambo leading to the killing of Haacaaluu's uncle.

Speaking at the funeral, which is being broadcast live on state TV, his father Hundeessaa Bonssaa his son was unjustly killed and asked the Ethiopian people to "Pray for Waaqa (God) for me."

A family member who also spoke at the ceremony criticized attempts to have him buried in Addis Abeba and said "it was not our opinion. Why was this needed? His father, his mother and his family wanted him to be laid to rest in Ambo. To blame this on the government is not correct. This is tantamount to burying Haacaaluu's truth," he said.

In an interview he gave to VOA Amharic last night, Hundeessaa said that the family wanted the Haacaaluu to be laid to rest in Ambo. He also called on the government to bring to justice those responsible for the death of his son.

A ceremony preceding the burial is being held at Ambo stadium attended by families, friends, artists, federal and regional officials. Dhaba Debele, Head of Oromia regional state Bureau of Agricultural and Natural Resource, placed a flower wreath on behalf of the regional state.

Shimelis Abdissa, President of Oromia region, announced via regional and state TV that a statue commemorating artist Haacaaluu will be built in Addis Abeba. AS

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct a quote attributed to Haacaaluu's father to a family member. We regret the error!

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