Millions of dollars in Western aid for victims of the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 was siphoned off by rebels to buy weapons, the BBC reported this morning.
Former rebel leaders told the BBC that they posed as merchants in meetings with charity workers to get aid money.
They used the cash to fund attempts to overthrow the government of the time.
One rebel leader estimated $95m from Western governments and charities including Band Aid – was channelled into the rebel fight.
The CIA, in a 1985 assessment entitled Ethiopia: Political and Security Impact of the Drought, also alleged aid money was being misused.
Its report concluded: “Some funds that insurgent organisations are raising for relief operations, as a result of increased world publicity, are almost certainly being diverted for military purposes.”