Joseph Kony in 2006.
Joseph Kony in 2006. Contributed

Opening old wounds

THE social media campaign around Joseph Kony is opening old wounds for Ugandans, says Northern Star reporter Ava Benny-Morrison, who is in the African country.

Benny-Morrison has been talking to people in the streets about the warlord.

Kony has become a household name in recent days, after a video about his Lord's Resistance Army was uploaded by the charity Invisible Children Inc.

The video was directed by Jason Russell and has since been viewed 73 million times.

But Ms Benny-Morrison says she has heard a "mixed reaction" when talking to local Ugandans about Kony.

"I spoke to one woman who grew up in a village in northern Uganda and had Kony come through her village 20 years ago," she told The Northern Star yesterday.

"She spoke of child abductions, Kony's army impregnating school-age girls and torture.

"The woman's aunty taught Kony in primary school and he was searching their village high and low for her to kill her as she gave him a hard time in school.

"The woman said her aunty was lucky she had heard he was coming and fled."

But locals are also concerned that there is a misconception that Kony is still connected to Uganda. It is widely believed he is hiding in Sudan.

Ms Benny-Morrison said locals agreed the social media campaign against Kony was good to "promote awareness of the monster that once rampaged" through the country.

"But people are only just returning to their villages in northern Uganda and trying to get some normalcy in their lives again," she said.

"A newspaper report in the Ugandan Sunday Times yesterday highlighted this point also, stating that Kony did in fact flee Uganda six years ago.

"It criticised the Invisible Children group, makers of the video, for not making that entirely clear.

"There is no doubt the mere mention of this man's name is met with shudders from locals, but they do not seem overly fazed by this resurgence in awareness. It is not a new issue for them."

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