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AP investigation sheds light on the suffering of millions of Ethiopians because of food aid theft

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AP reporters in East Africa and Washington worked together to follow up on their earlier newsbreak of a massive theft of food aid allegedly orchestrated by Ethiopian officials to feed fighting forces and sell the food in markets.   

A colleague in East Africa, who isn’t being named for security reasons, worked with foreign policy reporter Ellen Knickmeyer on Washington to speak with diplomats, government officials and aid workers. They learned that Ethiopian officials and the military appeared largely to blame and spoke with hungry Tigrayans who find themselves again begging door-to-door as the weekslong U.S. and U.N. suspension of food aid continues and reports of starvation rise.  

The U.N. World Food Program, hearing about the AP investigation, offered writer Cara Anna an exclusive interview with its regional director who acknowledged weak monitoring of a unique aid delivery system controlled by Ethiopia’s government — a combatant in the war. East Africa photographer and Bureau Chief Ben Curtis drew on his photos taken during a rare earlier opportunity to report on the hunger situation in Tigray, as well as acquired photos of aid warehouses, and demonstrations in Washington, to assemble a strong visual package.

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