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.”

13 Responses to “Learn more about the LRA and Kony 2012”

  1. 1 Fraancis Ben March 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for the site to keep us informed on what you guys from Stuttgard are doing. I am just concerned about the comments of Jessica Naomi, on the Ugandan President and by extension Ugandan Army. I am interested by what she says and I request her to substantiate her claims or allegations in order for some of us to follow her (I hope Jessica is a lady) arguments. Otherwise, good statement up there by you guys. Is there a way of communicating directly with my friend Jessica?
    Francis Ben

    • 2 Jacob AG March 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      I think Michael’s question was not just whether you remain committed now, but whether you had been committed before the Kony 2012 video.

      In other words, before the video was released, was there any timetable, either de jure or de facto, for withdrawal? That is, are the odds of the 100 advisors leaving before Kony is “removed or captured” any higher today than they were, say, 1 month ago, for any reason?

    • 5 Jacob AG March 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      I’m not aware of any evidence that the UPDA currently uses child soldiers, but Musevini’s NRA (the force he led when he came to power) certainly did.

      Musevini’s counterparts in the Congo (the FARDC + allies) certainly *do* currently use child soldiers, as described in painstaking detail by the U.N. Group of Experts’ 400-page report published in December.

      As for the oppression of homosexuals et al, this has been all over the news. (All of this is public information actually.) Musevini’s autocratic government nearly enacted the death sentence for homosexuals this past year. Perhaps more importantly, Musevini and his allies stole last year’s elections, prompting mass protests which, of course, came to nothing.

  2. 6 AFRICOM March 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Michael – In response to your questions:

    This is an important mission for U.S. Africa Command, and we remain committed to supporting the national militaries in the region in their efforts to pursue Joseph Kony and the LRA’s top commanders and to protect local populations. There is no timeline associated with our mission to advise, assist and support the regional military efforts. We will continue to review our effort to ensure it is relevant and to strengthen information-sharing, operational cooperation and overall effectiveness.

    We also believe it is important to remind readers that the U.S. military deployment is just one part of the US Government’s comprehensive, multi-faceted, multi-year strategy that seeks to help the Governments of Uganda, CAR, the DRC, and South Sudan as well as the African Union and United Nations to mitigate and end the threat posed to civilians and regional stability by the LRA. The strategy outlines four key objectives for U.S. support: (1) the increased protection of civilians, (2) the apprehension or removal of Joseph Kony and senior LRA commanders, (3) the promotion of defections and support of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters, and (4) the provision of continued humanitarian relief to affected communities. The U.S. Embassies in the region are also working closely with bilateral and multilateral partners to advance the strategy, and the Department of State has deployed a field representative to augment this engagement.

    We encourage readers to learn more about the overall effort by listening to a press briefing with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Karl Wycoff, and Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa, who briefed journalists across the continent on the United States’ support—in coordination with the African Union and the United Nations—of regional efforts to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

  3. 7 Jessica Naomi March 13, 2012 at 1:11 am

    What is AFRICOM doing to stop Ugandan President Museveni who is also using children in his army, sending soldiers to rape women and men, and threatening the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex Ugandans? There would be no Kony without Museveni. Why is the USA propping up another dictator?

  4. 8 Michael Wilkerson (@mjwilkerson) March 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Can you respond to the key contention in the film that US forces are in danger of being withdrawn if public pressure is not ramped up (via, sharing video and of course $$ given to Invisible Children)?

    Was the mission “time-limited” as mentioned here? http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE79E07H20111015?pageNumber=1&sp=true Has that changed?

    State dept says it has no knowledge of any plans to leave LRA hunt in near future. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/09/state_department_no_reason_to_think_we_are_calling_off_the_kony_hunt

    • 9 AFRICOM March 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Michael – We’ll check in the morning and see if we have any information beyond what we sent you on Friday via Twitter. Thanks for the question.

      • 10 Michael Wilkerson (@mjwilkerson) March 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm

        Sorry, I somehow missed the response on Friday–think that may have been during my biggest deluge. Thank you for that.

        The key question I think is that there seems to be some plausible deniability suggesting if there is a timeline it’s with the Pentagon:

        “I don’t have any information to indicate that we are considering that,” Nuland said, noting that the Pentagon is in charge of the advisors.”

  5. 11 Roger Pociask March 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    U.S. Africa Command is being beaten mercilessly on twitter’s popular #AFRICOM hashtag by those making false assumptions about the relationship between Invisible Children and Stuttgart. Why is the PAO of AFRICOM intentionally avoiding the #AFRICOM hashtag? Seems like too much ground game here.. an appropriate amount of respectful offense may be in order!

    • 12 AFRICOM March 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Not avoiding the hashtag on purpose. We’ve just been experimenting with different ones for our tweets. Thanks for the reminder to use #AFRICOM more often!

  1. 1 » Kony 2012: The Worst Case Scenario Jacob Geller's blog Trackback on June 19, 2012 at 1:41 am

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