"Kony 2012" group tipped off Uganda to wanted ex-rebel

Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:00am GMT

By Mary Slosson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The group behind the viral "Kony 2012" video that drew world attention to Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony tipped off Ugandan forces in 2009 to the whereabouts of a former child soldier wanted by the Kampala government, according to a classified U.S. cable published by Wikileaks.

Invisible Children, which shot to prominence last month when its video on Kony and his brutal Lord's Resistance Army drew more than 100 million hits on social media, told Ugandan officials that a man wanted by security forces was staying with the group in the northern Ugandan city of Gulu, the cable showed.

Patrick Komakech, the former child soldier who was featured in Invisible Children documentaries and said to have been abducted by Kony's rebels at age 9, was immediately arrested, according to U.S. document, posted in a database of classified cables published by Wikileaks.

"Komakech had confessed to being part of a new anti-government movement in the north," the 2009 State Department cable said. "Komakech reportedly gave the locations of several arms caches... with a total of 600 weapons."

The "Kony 2012" video, the latest in a series of documentaries by the group, has been hailed for inspiring young people to activism.

But the video has also been criticized for what some have called a misleading and oversimplified portrayal of events in Uganda, and for neglecting African initiatives to solve the crisis as well as opening up old wounds.

Invisible Children took another hit when the maker of the Kony 2012 film, Jason Russell, suffered a public meltdown last month that doctors described as a brief psychotic breakdown.

The group released a follow-up video last week pushing back against the criticism that has been leveled at it. The new video includes more African voices and context on the long-running conflict involving Kony in several African countries. It was released before April 20, which has been planned as a day of action.   Continued...

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