ADDIS ABABA, June 10 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) on Saturday denied that any of its personnel are involved in food aid theft.
In a press statement, the ENDF said some "media reports" that its personnel were involved in the theft of food aid meant for the country's civilian population are untrue.
"The ENDF is a modern army that adheres to strict discipline. The ENDF is widely known as a people's army for providing a portion of its own food supplies to Ethiopian citizens as well as countries where it's been deployed in peacekeeping missions," the statement said.
The statement further said the Ethiopian army has enough supplies of its own and as such has no need to grab aid from needy Ethiopians.
The ENDF statement, however, said if one of its personnel is discovered after an impartial investigation to have diverted food aid meant for Ethiopian civilians, it will take stern measures on guilty personnel.
The statement also accused unnamed local and foreign entities of disseminating hateful and defaming information.
On Friday, the World Food Programme (WFP) disclosed that it has decided to suspend its food aid assistance program in Ethiopia, citing large-scale aid misappropriation.
The UN agency estimates that more than 20 million people in Ethiopia affected by ongoing drought and conflict urgently need humanitarian food assistance.