Hit internet video of little help – Ugandans

2012-03-12 14:13

Kampala - While a short film recounting atrocities by Uganda's brutal rebels has become a huge internet hit, victims of the ruthless insurgents driven out six years ago say it is too little too late.

"What is this going to help? Kony cut off my arm, will the video bring it back?" asked Angella Atim, referring to Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony.

"Where were these groups when we were being killed by Kony?" added Atim, whose left arm was chopped off when she could no longer walk on the second day after being captured by the rebels.

The 30-minute film by the California-based advocacy group Invisible Children has earned praise from celebrities and drawn millions of viewers, but in Uganda, its timing raises questions.

"This is a good initiative, but it should have come at the right time, not at the time when Kony has been defeated in Uganda," said Onyango Kakoba, Uganda's representative to the Pan-African Parliament.

Ugandan forces drove the rag-tag LRA fighters from northern Uganda in 2006, into the jungles in South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they continue to kill, maim and abduct civilians.

Kony, a semi-literate former altar boy, took charge in 1988 of a rebellion among northern Uganda's ethnic Acholi minority, to fight the Kampala government it wanted to replace by a regime based on the Biblical Ten Commandments.

He is accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of the rape, mutilation and murder of civilians as well as forcibly recruiting child soldiers.

Overcome by events

Regional armies launched a hunt in 2008 to capture Kony after he repeatedly refused to sign a peace deal with Uganda. The drive has been fruitless and Kony remains at large alongside a clutch of fighters.

Some in northern Uganda, the region worst hit by the LRA brutality, welcome the film "Kony2012", but say they now want to rebuild their lives.

"The video has been overcome by events. The situation has changed from war to peace, and that's what we are currently doing to ensure that people return to normal lives," said Solomon Kigane, an aid worker in northern Uganda.

Former LRA fighter Jackson Okoth said: "This video is like flogging a dead horse. Kony is no longer the same as he was 10 years ago."

"The war in northern Uganda is over and efforts must be made towards settling people in their homes."

Invisible Children said it has been denouncing the atrocities by Kony's fighters since they fled Uganda. It also denied accusations that it oversimplified facts about the conflict.

The group has also been criticised for using funds raised - some 70% or more by some accounts - for salaries, travel expenses and filmmaking rather than charitable work.

Ugandan human rights lawyer Moses Sserwanga said the video was an important document that could help in trying Kony, who is sought by the ICC alongside three of his top lieutenants.

US special forces

"The video is a perfectly legitimate initiative. Recording and documenting Kony's atrocities, if he is captured and taken to ICC or tried by the special division of the Ugandan court system, is very important," said Sserwanga.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has called for a concerted international drive to capture Kony, now believed to be in the Central African Republic.

"Any such action requires stepped-up protection for civilians in the regions where the LRA operates to prevent the inevitable retaliatory attacks," it said in a recent report.

US special forces have set up a base in the Central African Republic as part of their regional hunt for the elusive rebels.

  • mattjohnbass - 2012-03-12 14:19

    Kony 2012 = Oil

  • iamtmashigo - 2012-03-12 14:27

    The US is only there for Oil. Nothing more. Kony is mere bait.

      thebrucemcdonald - 2012-03-12 15:36

      We've grown tired waiting for Africans to sort out their affairs. You're good at talking, not so good at doing.

      Mouldy - 2012-03-12 16:31

      Bruce, who is the "we" that you represent?

      thebrucemcdonald - 2012-03-12 16:50

      We = Tax Payers seeing their money disappearing into Africa

      Anthony - 2012-03-12 19:41

      Well,the people in Chad, the CAR and N.E. DRC, could not give a damn, if there is oil or no oil. Africa let them down, so whoever will help them, they are more than welcome.

  • Paul - 2012-03-12 14:48

    Lets hope we don't discover oil in SA

      Anastasia - 2012-03-12 15:13

      it might be worth considering, but only if we tell the yanks that Juju is sitting on the site where the oil was "discovered"...

      iamtmashigo - 2012-03-12 15:23

      Dont worry about that, we've already been screwed with Gold, Diamonds and more recently the World Cup..

      thebrucemcdonald - 2012-03-12 16:54

      Only South Africans would see oil discovery as a bad thing. The rest of us would enjoy the forex it would provide. Gold and Diamonds and the rest of the natural bounty in South Africa have propelled it into 1st place in the African continent.

  • Nicole - 2012-03-12 15:13

    it might be a little to late, but look at the impression it has made and something is finally going to be done! At least it has been brought to peoples attention and if not for the people who made the video, it might never have been.

      Tjaart - 2012-03-12 16:03

      And you think the US is getting involved purely out of the goodness of who they are as a nation (deliberate pun). Please wake up and smell the roses Nicole. And b.t.w - why should an event like this even BE BROUGHT to peolple's attention in the first place?? Africa being wrecked and brutely exploited is a fact - it has been for decades. And the world simply gives a rat's ass!!! Unless someone conveniently brings it to their attention; so they may pledge their support by pushing a button somewhere... And end up feeling all warm and fuzzy about it. Please...

      Tjaart - 2012-03-12 16:10

      And if it wasn't for the fact that you appear to like horses I sure as heck would have given you a thumbs down...

  • Skuiter - 2012-03-12 16:50

    To quote our fearless leaders - "The african continent belongs to africans. Hands off. The problems we face here are unique and we require a african solution to african problems" - So now the west is good enough? Lol.

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