Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan ecologist who last week was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, on Saturday repeated her belief that HIV was created by scientists for biological warfare, Agence France-Presse reports. Maathai, the first African woman to win the peace prize, said in August that HIV was created "for the purpose of mass extermination. We know that the developed nations are using biological warfare, leaving guns to primitive people. They have the resources to do this. AIDS is not a curse from God to Africans or the black people. It is a tool to control them designed by some evil-minded scientists." On Saturday, Maathai said she continues to believe the statements she made in August are true, saying that HIV was being used deliberately to "destroy black people." Maathai says she has never indicated that a particular region or country was responsible for creating HIV, but says she does not believe the theory that HIV evolved in monkeys before being transmitted to humans in Africa.
Although U.S. officials publicly applauded Maathai for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, several object to her comments about the origin of HIV. "She said HIV/AIDS was invented as a bioweapon in some laboratory in the West," an unnamed State Department official told South Africa's Star. "We don't agree with that."
Maathai, Kenya's assistant minister of the environment and founder of the country's Green Belt biodiversity and gender equality movement, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote ecologically viable social, economic, and cultural development in Kenya and throughout Africa.