Hachalu Hundessa: 'My friend the hero who was gunned down'

Hachalu with Amensisa

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Hachalu Hundessa (L) and Amensisa Ifa were pals since 2009

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The killing of Ethiopian protest singer and respected musician Hachalu Hundessa ended in days of unrest within the nation, and the deaths of no less than 80 folks all over protests.

Hachalu most commonly sang about love and cohesion, however his songs additionally addressed problems with marginalisation felt by way of his Oromo ethnic staff.

BBC digicam operator Amensisa Ifa, who was once a pal of the musician’s and had filmed an award-winning video with him, appears again at the days since he died.

Once in a while once I take into accounts Hachalu’s loss of life, I believe that I might fairly have died if that intended that he may reside.

He was once a hero to many, and had such a lot to provide his folks.

He at all times fought for them – and all over the ones occasions when many artists, activists and politicians fled the rustic, Hachalu stayed again elevating problems that many would no longer dare to boost.

‘Hachalu is in health center’

I began getting calls and textual content messages after 22:00 (19:00 GMT) on Monday from pals who have been all asking me about what had came about to Hachalu.

No-one on the level was once announcing that he was once lifeless, but it surely was once transparent that one thing had came about.

I attempted calling our different pals, however no-one was once selecting up. Then I were given a textual content message to mention that Hachalu was once in health center.

I made up our minds to force there and, on my manner, controlled to achieve certainly one of our pals at the telephone and he informed me, sobbing, that he was once status subsequent to Hachalu’s frame.

Hachalu were shot lifeless.

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Amensisa’s video for Hachalu’s 2015 track Maalan Jira has received awards

Once I were given to the health center there was once a large number of noise throughout the room the place the frame was once.

Any individual exposed it and I noticed what appeared to me like a gunshot wound to his chest.

The police have been there, in addition to a large number of pals.

I used to be calling his identify and crying. Everyone was once shouting, everyone was once crying.

“Do not inform me that is actual,” we stored on screaming.

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Hachalu’s frame was once then taken to every other health center so the medical doctors may do additional investigations, and we adopted the ambulance.

We stayed in the course of the night time. At about 04:00 we went out of doors and the entire house in entrance of the health center was once filled with folks as the scoop had unfold about Hachalu’s loss of life.

Everyone was once crying, calling his identify.

Then after first light, we attempted to take the frame out of the capital, Addis Ababa, to Hachalu’s house the town of Ambo – about 100km (60 miles) west of Addis Ababa.

‘Hachalu is our hero’

As we drove out of the town in a convoy, I may see that there were a large number of hassle. I may listen gunshots and the police launching tear gasoline.

We were given so far as Burayu, about 15km, the place we met hundreds of people that were travelling into Addis Ababa on foot, on lorries and buses; a lot of them in surprise and grief, and in need of to pay their respects.

Those have been folks from other portions of Oromia who were travelling in a single day after listening to of Hachalu’s loss of life. Many have been inquiring for the funeral to happen within the capital.

Sitting in my automobile, I heard folks announcing: “Hachalu is our country’s hero. He merits a heroic funeral in Addis.”

Our convoy stopped there for some time, after which we began the adventure again to Addis Ababa.

We later came upon that the federal government insisted that Hachalu will have to be laid to relaxation in Ambo, because it was once what the circle of relatives had sought after. In consequence his frame was once flown by way of helicopter to the city.

However I could not move to Ambo for the funeral on Thursday because the roads were blocked.

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There weren’t many mourners on the funeral, but it surely was once broadcast on tv

As a substitute I needed to practice the rite on tv, and that was once the hardest second for me.

I sought after to be with him to mention good-bye correctly. I may see that no longer many of us were allowed to wait, and in our tradition you can not bury even an unusual particular person with only a few folks round, let on my own a large hero like Hachalu.

As I used to be looking at, I used to be sobbing.

I known as my mom in tears and informed her: “I need to die lately.” She was once additionally crying and I have been crying ever since, each and every time any individual asks me how I am feeling.

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Just a small choice of mourners have been in a position to wait the funeral

I am nonetheless puzzled about Hachalu’s loss of life.

Even on Thursday, once I heard that one thing had came about to a pal of his, I instinctively began dialling Hachalu’s quantity to speak to him about it.

I had talked to him per week sooner than he was once shot and he informed me that he had a brand new track that he sought after to play me known as “Eessa Jirta?” that means The place Are You?

Hachalu’s artwork was once no longer restricted to politics. He sang about tradition, identification, cohesion, human rights and love amongst different issues.

I additionally sought after to speak a couple of tv interview he had simply given the place he was once telling those that he would no longer flip his again on his political affairs.

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Dagi Photos

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Hachalu was once proud to spot along with his Oromo ethnic staff

He was once speaking concerning the rights of the Oromo folks, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic staff who’ve lengthy complained of political and financial marginalisation.

Folks were accusing him of accepting cash from the rustic’s new governing celebration – the Prosperity Celebration – however he mentioned: “No-one should buy me.”

He at all times knew that folks disagreed with him, and there have been incidents wherein he had rows with some folks in Addis Ababa.

However he by no means fearful for his lifestyles. He regularly mentioned any individual who dies for his folks is a hero.

“I am no other to somebody else,” he informed me as soon as, “I might die at some point, however It’s not that i am scared of death.”

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