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Campaign to arrest Uganda rebel chief goes viral
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 7, 2012

A campaign to bring accused war criminal Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army rebels, to justice has gone viral on the Internet.

The hashtag "#stopkony" was among trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday, vying for the top spot with tweets about the new iPad and Peyton Manning, who was released after 14 years as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

The campaign was launched by the nonprofit group Invisible Children with an emotional 30-minute video which has been viewed more than 7.3 million times on YouTube and attracted more than 150,000 comments.

"Invisible Children" and "Uganda" were also among the top trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday.

A number of celebrities joined the campaign by tweeting links to the video and promoting the campaign.

"Dear Joseph Kony, I'm Gonna help Make you FAMOUS!!!! We will stop YOU #StopKONY ! All 6,OOO,OOO of my followers RT NOW!!! Pls!" hip-hop icon and fashion mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs said on his Twitter feed @iamdiddy.

"#KONY2012," tweeted singer Rihanna on her @rihanna account.

"Whoa! we need to #STOPKONY," said actress Zooey Deschanel on @ZooeyDeschanel.

Born in 1988 from the frustrations against the government of Uganda's marginalized Acholi ethnic group, the LRA has since dropped its national political agenda for the narrow objective of pillage and plunder.

Kony, whose movement draws on messianic beliefs and a smattering of Christian motifs, is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

The rebels currently number several hundred, a fraction of their strength at their peak but still include a core of hardened fighters infamous for mutilating civilians and abducting children to act as soldiers and sex-slaves.

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