Activists Support U.S. Move Against Uganda Rebels
by MICHELE KELEMEN
by MICHELE KELEMEN
NPR NEWS - Human rights groups don't usually cheer military forays. But they have offered loud applause for the Obama administration's decision to send 100 military advisers to several countries in Africa to help those nations fight one of the continent's most notorious rebel groups, the Lord's Resistance Army.
The Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA, is led by Joseph Kony and has been terrorizing Uganda and surrounding nations for decades. Advocacy groups say this is a case where military intervention is needed, and it comes at a time when the LRA has been weakened and is estimated to have only a few hundred active fighters.
But there are concerns. Kony's army has specialized in kidnapping children and forcing them to fight. These children could be caught up in any operation to find Kony.
As President Obama put together his plan to help African countries track down Kony, activists have put together their own innovative ways to focus attention on the conflict. Read more
.... The LRA's widespread use of children is one reason this issue has drawn so much interest from young Americans, including Poffenberger, 28, who went to Uganda first when he was a student at Notre Dame University.
Ben Keesey, who runs Invisible Children, says he was inspired by three of his friends who went to Uganda to make a film and happened upon terrible scenes.
"On one night in March of 2003, our founders, when they were in northern Uganda saw the phenomenon called 'night commuting,' where children out of fear of abduction left their home and slept in the downtown city center," he said. "And they kind of changed all of our lives."
NOTE: Invisible Children representatives have visited the Champlain College campus twice in the past year.