Police Arrests Surpass 7000 with Alleged Connection of Deadly Violence in Oromia

Burned commercial buldings which were set on fire by a mob during the violence after the assasination of Oromo's pop singer Hachalu Hundessa are seen in Shashamene, Ethiopia, on July 12, 2020. - Hachalu Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, to power in 2018. Hachalu Hundessa's shooting death last week sparked days of protests and ethnic violence that killed 239 people, according to police figures. Ethiopia's attorney general said that two men had confessed to killing a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group as part of a plot to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

The Oromia Police Commission has arrested over 7000 people, as of last Friday, with the alleged participation of violence in the region which resulted in death and destruction of properties following the assassination of the famous singer Hachalu Hundessa in Addis Ababa.

The spokesperson of Oromia Regional State Getachew Balcha told the Voice of America (VOA) on Tuesday that the arrests had been suspected of participating in the deadly protest in Oromia Region State. Gectachew expects the number to reduce after the release of detainees with minimal participation in the protest after given counseling.

Cities in Oromia including the nation’s capital Addis Ababa were been struck with mass protests. The spokesperson said that the police detained only the ones that had a role in the violent activities that cost lives and public properties not for expressing their anger peacefully.

Reports from the government suggest that more than 160 people have died due to week-long violence in the largest most populous region in Ethiopia.

Prominent politicians such as Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, and local administrators in Oromia have also been arrested and brought to the court related to the unrest that followed the death of the singer.

Government authorities have also alleged that Egypt had collaborated with local political parties and individuals to cause ethnic disputes in the country with the aim of diverting attention from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) being built by Ethiopia which had been planned to be filled in July.

There have been no official statements about the start of filling the dam from the Ethiopian government but reports suggest that the dam has been swelling since the past week. Negotiations among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt had ended with no agreement and Egypt released multiple warnings to Ethiopia that every option is on the table if Ethiopia starts to fill the dam without trilateral agreement on filling and operating the mega-dam considered by millions of Ethiopias as a big move to leverage the nation from poverty.

In addition, for the past couple of days, Ethiopian diaspora in North America and Europe have made mass demonstrations opposing and supporting government actions on detaining suspects in coordinating and participating in the violence.

The spokesperson has told VOA that peace in Oromia has been restored and people have returned to their normal activities. Also, the government has started preparations to restore those who lost their properties by protestors.

Following the violence, the government has cut the Internet in most parts of the country to avoid further calls for protesting but cable Internet has been restored in Addis Ababa last week.