Continued from page 1

“Have supported with $’s and voice and will not stop,” tweeted Oprah.

Data collected by YouTube show the video is most popular with boys and girls ages 13 to 17, as well as young men ages 18 to 24.

Invisible Children’s critics say the San Diego-based group oversimplifies a complex issue. In a rebuttal posted on its website, the group acknowledges the video overlooks many nuances but says it sought to explain the conflict “in an easily understandable format.” It called the film a “first entry point.”

“It’s something we can all agree on regardless of your political background,” said Ben Keesey, the group’s 28-year-old chief executive officer. “There are few times where problems are black and white. There’s lots of complicated stuff in the world, but Joseph Kony and what he’s doing is black and white.”

The LRA began its attacks in Uganda in the 1980s, when Kony sought to overthrow the government. Since being pushed out of Uganda several years ago, the militia has terrorized villages in Congo, the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan.

Kony is a monster. He deserves to be prosecuted and hanged,” Col. Felix Kulayigye, spokesman for Uganda’s military, told The Associated Press.

Because of the intensified hunt for Kony, LRA forces _ once thousands strong _ have diminished in number, splitting into smaller groups that can travel the jungle more easily. Experts estimate the militia now has about 250 fighters.

Attacks continue, with victims mutilated by machetes, their faces slashed into grotesque shapes. Women are raped and killed. Young girls are forced into sexual slavery.

Jolly Okot was abducted in 1986. The then-18-year-old could speak English, so she was valuable to the militants, who also forced her into sex slavery.

Today, Okot is the Uganda country director for Invisible Children. She said the group is helping 800 people affected by LRA violence to attend high school and college. The program has given hope to kids who previously dropped out of school.

“The most exciting thing about this film is that I’m so grateful that the world has been able to pay attention to an issue that has long been neglected,” she said. “I think it is an eye-opener and I think this will push for Joseph Kony to be apprehended, and I think justice will get to him.”

Moreno-Ocampo said it has been hard to raise public awareness about Kony since issuing the arrest warrant against him in 2005.

Kony is difficult. He is not killing people in Paris or in New York. Kony is killing people in Central African Republic, no one cares about him,” Moreno-Ocampo told the AP. “These young people from California mobilizing this effort is incredible, exactly what we need.”

Still, the burst of attention has brought scrutiny, including over the ratio of Invisible Children’s spending on aid and its rating by the site Charity Navigator, as well as criticism of a 2008 photo of three members holding guns alongside troops in what is now South Sudan.

In a response posted on the Internet, the group said it spends about 80 percent of its funds on programs that further its mission, 16 percent on administration and about 3 percent on fundraising. The group said its accountability score is low because it has only four independent voting members on its board of directors, but is seeking a fifth.

Story Continues →