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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Band Aid weapons claims 'nonsense'

Sir Bob Geldof dismisses claims about Band Aid money
Sir Bob Geldof dismisses claims about Band Aid money

Claims that aid money sent to Ethiopia was spent on weapons are "palpable nonsense", Band Aid founder Sir Bob Geldof said.

The Band Aid Trust has said it will complain to the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom and the BBC Trust about a BBC report that alleged millions of pounds raised for famine relief was spent on weapons by a rebel group in the north of the country.

Geldof told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "There is not a single shred of evidence that Band Aid or Live Aid money was diverted."

A broadcast on the BBC World Service reported claims that 95% of the 100 million US dollars in aid which went to the province of Tigray in 1985 was used by rebel forces to buy weapons.

The BBC report featured interviews with two former members of a rebel group in the northern Ethiopian province who made the allegations."

A Christian Aid spokeswoman confirmed they were planning to support the complaint to the BBC Trust.

Christian Aid Paul Brannen, head of advocacy and influence at the charity, said: "This story is a good example of how a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has put its boots on.

"In this age of rapid and international communication it is more important than ever that the BBC independently verify all its facts before transmitting a story as potentially damaging as this one."

Andrew Whitehead, the news and current affairs editor at the World Service, said the BBC "stands by" its report.

Press Association

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