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Joseph Kony 2012: Video Campaign Underscores Lord's Resistance Army Abuses

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In this Nov. 12, 2006, file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File-Pool)
In this Nov. 12, 2006, file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File-Pool)

Grisly killings, abductions, and rapes allegedly committed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa have garnered international attention following the release of a video highlighting abuses committed by the group and its leader, Joseph Kony.

The half-hour film (above) produced by Invisible Children follows a former child soldier named Jacob. The film issues a call for action, reportedly aiming to raise awareness by making Joseph Kony a household name. While the organization describes itself as a movement seeking to end the conflict in Uganda, some have criticized the group's spending practices and the film's approach as overly simplistic.

However, the LRA is allegedly responsible for a host of abuses, including the murder, rape, and abduction of tens of thousands in the past two decades. The Associated Press reports:

Kony, whose army abducts children and takes women as sex slaves, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity committed during a decades-long insurgency against Uganda's government. The group has been blamed for the murder of thousands of civilians in four countries, and the U.S. classifies it as a terrorist organization.

Myths surround the LRA's leader, Joseph Kony, who enjoys a cult-like respect. Kony calls himself a "freedom fighter," although it is unclear why he is fighting.

Last October, President Obama announced that 100 US troops would be dispatched to central Africa as advisers to those fighting against the LRA. The LRA is reportedly fractured and weakened, however its leader Joseph Kony remains at large.

A Twitter campaign targeting celebrities and influential figures took off last night using the hashtag #STOPKONY. Below, see a few of the reactions:

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Joseph Kony 2012: Video Campaign Underscores Lord's Resistance Army Abuses