The military was deployed in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday as armed gangs roamed neighbourhoods in a second day of unrest that claimed more than 80 lives.
Popular musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was shot dead on Monday in what police said was a targeted killing.
Protests following the killing, and a sense of political marginalisation, broke out the next morning in the capital and other towns and cities in the surrounding Oromia region.
The assassination of Haacaaluu, from the country’s largest ethnic group, stoked tensions that threaten to derail the country’s democratic transition.
“So far 81 people have been killed, including three Oromia special police force members,” said Bedassa Merdasa, the Oromia police chief.
Gunshots echoed through many neighbourhoods and gangs armed with machetes and sticks roamed the streets. Witnesses described a situation pitting youths of Oromo origin against some of the city’s other ethnic groups, and where both sides skirmished with police.
“We had a meeting with the community, and we were told to arm ourselves with anything we have, including machetes and sticks. We no longer trust the police to protect us, so we have to prepare ourselves,” said one Addis Ababa resident, who like others interviewed asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
The military had been deployed in some areas, three witnesses said. One described a street littered with rocks that anti-Oromo protesters had thrown at police.