Geldof Lashes Out at BBC for Alleging Ethiopia Aid Diversion

    An infuriated Bob Geldof has threatened to file a suit against the BBC World Service for its report alleging that 95 percent of some USD100 million famine aid raised for northern Ethiopia in 1985 was spent on weapons.

    The musician, the brains behind the 1985 fundraising concert Live Aid, said in scathing comments published in the Guardian that there was a “total collapse of standards and systems” at the BBC when it came out with a report that he said was baseless.

    Citing statements from a former rebel from the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, the BBC had reported that only 5 percent of the total famine aid raised 25 years ago went to food aid, while the rest was diverted for arms purchases. The BBC stands by its story despite criticism and repeated denials.

    Geldof also called for the firing of reporter Martin Plaut, his editor Andrew Whitehead, and BBC World Service head Peter Horrocks.

    “Band Aid has been under the most intensive scrutiny since and most particularly during the mid-80s. Quite rightly too,” Geldof wrote. “Pretty weird, however, that not a single one of the dozens of journalists who have travelled with me or covered Band Aid ‘discovered’ Martin Plaut’s ‘story.’”

    About the author

    • Tarra Quismundo

      Tarra Quismundo joined Devex Manila as a staff writer in October 2009 after more than six years of working as a reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a nationwide daily, for which she covered major breaking news in politics, military, police and international affairs. Tarra's Devex News coverage focuses on key Asian donors and top aid officials around the globe.

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