A video posted by an US activist group highlighting wartime atrocities in Africa, has proved once again the power of social media as a campaigning tool.
Shot by American filmmakers the video investigates the Ugandan rebel group the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’, and their leader Joseph Kony, a bush fighter sought by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
Since Monday more than 26m people have viewed the 29-minute video by campaign group ‘Invisible Children’, calling for the arrest of the Ugandan rebel leader, Kony.
The video provoked a huge response, in particular on Twitter, and drew support from celebrities Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and P Diddy amongst others.
#Uganda, #InvisibleChildren and #stopkony were among the top 10 trending terms on Twitter worldwide last night, and ranked higher than tweets about the launch of the new Apple iPad.
Ben Keesey, Invisible Children's chief executive officer told Associated Press that the viral success demonstrated how much the video’s message resonates.
“The core message is just to show that 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,” he said.
The Lord’s Resistance Army is accused of tens of thousands of mutilations and killings over the last 26 years. The group allegedly abducts and forces children to serve as soldiers or sex slaves.
It is claimed that the children are sometimes forced to kill their parents or each other to survive.
Kony and his close aides have been sought by the ICC in The Hague since 2005 and the LRA is listed by the US as a terrorist organization.
The LRA began its campaign of terror in northern Uganda over 20 years ago. They initially claimed they were fighting for a biblical state and the rights of the Acholi people.
Invisible Children is based in San Diego with a staff of about 40.
The group trains people at its headquarters in order to disseminate the message about Lord’s Resistance Army atrocities.
The group last year installed high frequency radios in the jungle in an attempt to begin tracking attacks by the LRA in Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The video was shown in full on Australian TV network 'Ten' today.
The channel said they showed the video in response to Twitter lobbying and Facebook messages.