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Rebels take a break under a tree in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014. Bright-blue UNICEF backpacks can be seen resting alongside their weapons.
Rebels take a break under a tree in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei State February 1, 2014. Bright-blue UNICEF backpacks can be seen resting alongside their weapons.
(GORAN TOMASEVIC/REUTERS)

GEOFFREY YORK

Stolen aid makes donors rethink their blank cheques to South Sudan

The shocking and slightly ridiculous image has already gone viral: dozens of South Sudan soldiers marching through the bush, each wearing a cheery child-sized bright-blue UNICEF school bag on his back.

The United Nations children’s agency had intended to donate the backpacks to schoolchildren. Instead they were looted and given to South Sudan’s soldiers. Some of the backpacks have even ended up in the hands of rebel fighters.