Vi­ral video tar­gets Ugan­dan mili­tia leader

The Washington Times Daily - - World - BY ROD­NEY MUHUMUZA AND

KAM­PALA, UGANDA | If Joseph Kony lived in rel­a­tive anonymity be­fore this week, he’s an In­ter­net star now.

A video about the atroc­i­ties car­ried out by Mr. Kony’s Lord’s Re­sis­tance Army (LRA) has gone vi­ral, rack­ing up mil­lions more views seem­ingly by the hour.

The mar­ket­ing cam­paign is an ef­fort by the ad­vo­cacy group In­vis­i­ble Chil­dren to vastly in­crease aware­ness about a jun­gle mili­tia leader who is wanted for atroc­i­ties by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court and is be­ing hunted by 100 U.S. Spe­cial Forces ad­vis­ers and lo­cal troops in four Cen­tral African coun­tries.

The group’s 30-minute video, which was re­leased Mon­day, had more than 26 mil­lion views on Youtube by Thurs­day. The movie is part of an ef­fort called KONY 2012 that tar­gets Mr. Kony and the LRA.

“Kony is a mon­ster. He de­serves to be pros­e­cuted and hanged,” said Col. Felix Ku­layi­gye, the spokesman for Uganda’s mil­i­tary.

But Col. Ku­layi­gye said that Mr. Kony’s forces — once thou­sands strong — have been so de­graded that he no longer con­sid­ers Mr. Kony a threat to the re­gion.

Be­cause of the in­ten­si­fied hunt for Mr. Kony, his forces split into smaller groups that can travel the jun­gle more eas­ily.

Ex­perts es­ti­mate that the LRA now has only about 250 fight­ers.

Still, the mili­tia abducts chil­dren, forc­ing them to serve as sol­diers or sex slaves, and even to kill their par­ents or each other to sur­vive. The LRA op­er­ates in Congo, the Cen­tral African Repub­lic and South Su­dan.

Uganda, In­vis­i­ble Chil­dren and #stop­kony were among the top 10 trend­ing terms on Twit­ter among both the world­wide and U.S. au­di­ence Wed­nes­day night, rank­ing higher than New ipad or Pey­ton Man­ning. Twit­ter’s top trends more com­monly in­clude celebri­ties than fugi­tive mil­i­tants.

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