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Learn more about the LRA and Kony 2012

US soldiers assist Ugandan Airforce personnel as they package food supplies at a military airbase in Entebbbe, Uganda, on Dec. 6, 2011. The food supplies were destined for frontline Ugandan troops hunting the Lord's Resistance Army. Photo courtesy of Newsday, MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images

“Kony 2012″, the 30-minute video produced by the group Invisible Children, quickly became a viral sensation when it was posted online last week. By this morning it had been viewed nearly 73 million times on YouTube. Invisible Children has been both praised for their incredible social media marketing savvy and criticized for taking what some see as a narrow view on a complicated issue. The group is poised to release another video today to answer critics, according to a CNN story.

Either way, “Kony 2012″ has raised the attention of the world regarding Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

US Africa Command does not endorse nor is it affiliated with Invisible Children.

AFRICOM does, however, welcome this increased awareness about the Lord’s Resistance Army and the history of atrocities and destabilizing role the LRA has played in Central Africa for decades.  We will continue to work with Congress, the Department of State, the Department of Defense and interested advocacy groups to end the LRA threat.

Click on the links below for more on AFRICOM’s involvement in efforts to counter the LRA, a comprehensive National Defense University paper on the LRA, as well as various takes on “Kony 2012″ from around the web.

And as always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post, as well as links to other resources you think might be helpful and informative.

FACT Sheet: U.S. Military Support to African Efforts to Counter the Lord’s Resistance Army, from the US AFRICOM home page: “We are an enabling force to facilitate and advance the capabilities of the African forces.”

“U.S. Continues Support for Central Africa as it Counters LRA threat,” from the US AFRICOM home page: “In the long run, it is Africans who are best-suited to address African security matters,” Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey said. “In this case, four nations decided that they wanted to work together to address a common security challenge, and we’re glad to help.”

“U.S. Command Fights Terrorists on African Soil,”  audio and transcript of National Public Radio interview with AFRICOM’s commander Gen. Carter F. Ham: “They have caused the displacement of many tens of thousands of people. They’ve disrupted economies. They’ve disrupted good governance. They undermine regional stability. And that’s why we’re concerned.”

“Countering the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa,” National Defense University paper by  senior research fellow Andre Le Sage:

“Joseph Kony: Brutal Warlord Who Shocked the World,” CNN profile on the LRA leader: “If Kony attracted supporters through his ‘mystical powers’ and charisma, he kept them through fear.”

“The Controversy Over Kony 2012,” one Washington Post writer’s view on the video and the efforts against the LRA: “The effort to capture or kill Kony is one of the least controversial, most thoroughly multilateral, objectives in the world. But that has not prevented a few people from trying to stir controversy.”

“Kony 2012: The Anatomy of a Viral Campaign,” the Washington Post on how a 30-minute video took the social media world by storm: “To get the campaign off the ground quickly, the group had users send messages to 20 ‘culturemakers’ and 12 ‘policymakers’ with influential Twitter accounts urging them to support the effort.”

Road map to AFRICOM

Need to know how to pronounce Ouagadougou (the capital of Burkina Fasso)? Wondering which countries border Sudan?

Looking for an explanation of AFRICOM’s mission or a list of contacts?

The answers can be found on the U.S. Africa Command website, a wealth of resources and information about the command, our African partners and the men and women who serve with us.

The website’s home page always includes the latest news from AFRICOM in stories, photos and video. It also features “Africom Dialogues,” a compilation of short vignettes, essays and reports from AFRICOM staff members.

Delve into the tabs at the top of the page, and the treasure trove of facts really opens up. There you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about AFRICOM (and probably even more).

Some of our favorite links include the pronunciation guides and the interactive map. Under the “About the Command” tab you’ll find the AFRICOM posture statements, mission statement, all kinds of fact sheets and links to international organizations and groups, as well as links to news sources, NGOs and a host of other great resources.

Back on the home page, at the top, you’ll see a section of icons. These link you to our various social media sites and other links of interest, including this blog, the African Union home page and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The AFRICOM website is designed to be your one-stop shop for information on the command and beyond, a virtual encyclopedia/fact book/atlas at your fingerprints.

So settle in, take a few minutes and look around. Have fun. Study up.

Then leave a comment and tell us what you learned. Happy surfing!


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