Geldof attacks BBC report on Ethiopia aid

Fighting for the world's poor … Bob Geldof. Photo: AP

LONDON (AFP)— Anti-poverty campaigner Bob Geldof on Sunday lashed out at a BBC report that claimed millions of pounds raised for famine relief in Ethiopia by Band Aid in 1985 were used by rebels to pay for weapons.

“About Band Aid, not a single penny went to the armaments, not a pound, not a penny,” the Irish rock star told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.

He added: “There is not a single shred of evidence that Band Aid or Live Aid money was diverted.”

The BBC World Service reported claims that 95 percent of 100 million US dollars of aid which went to Ethiopia’s Tigray province in 1985 was used by rebel forces to buy weapons.

The World Service report included interviews with two former members of a rebel group in Tigray, who made the allegations.

But Geldof said on Sunday that the sources were not “credible”.

And the Band Aid Trust also said it would complain to broadcasting regulator Ofcom and the BBC Trust.

Andrew Whitehead, news and current affairs editor at the World Service, defended the report and said that the corporation stood by it.

“It presents evidence, compelling evidence, that some of the famine relief donations were diverted by a powerful rebel group to buy weapons,” said Whitehead, writing in a blog on the BBC website.

Christian Aid said it would also complain to the BBC Trust.

Geldof released in 1984 the hit song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” which he co-wrote after bringing together some of the world’s top musicians to raise money to help people affected by famine in Ethiopia.