Geldof Enraged by Report That Live Aid Paid for Weapons

95% of donations siphoned to rebel weapons, says BBC
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2010 5:17 AM CST
Singers Valerie Simpson, Teddy Pendergrass and Nicholas Ashford perform at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia during the Live Aid famine relief concert in 1985.   (AP Photo/ Amy Sancetta)
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(Newser) – Live Aid founder Bob Geldof is furious about a BBC report that said 95% of the Live Aid money his organization raised for Ethiopian famine relief in 1985 was diverted to buy weapons for rebel fighters. It's possible that "some money was mislaid, but to suggest it was on this scale is just bollocks," Geldof told the Times of London.

Former Ethiopian rebel leaders told the BBC they tricked naive Western officials from nonprofit organizations into giving them money by dressing up as merchants and carrying sacks of sand they pretended were grain—then spent most of the $100 million donated for famine relief on arms. Geldof insists the "story and the figures just don’t add up” and warns it would be a "tragedy" if the BBC report stopped people from donating to charity in the future.

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