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Makers of Kony video ‘spied for Ugandan government’ – WikiLeaks

A US embassy cable published by WikiLeaks suggests a former child soldier was arrested after an Invisible Children tip-off.

Infamous Ugandan guerilla warlord Joseph Kony, the subject of Invisible Children's best-known work.
Infamous Ugandan guerilla warlord Joseph Kony, the subject of Invisible Children's best-known work.
Image: YouTube screengrab

THE CONTROVERSIAL GROUP behind the well-known viral videos about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony effectively acted as a spying group for the Ugandan government by tipping it off about the whereabouts of wanted men, a leaked US embassy cable has suggested.

A cable dated from 2009 and published by WikiLeaks says the Invisible Children group tipped off the Ugandan government about the whereabouts of Patrick Komekech, a purported former child soldier who had extorted government officials into giving him money.

The cable remarks that Komanech had appeared in Invisible Children’s previous documentaries, and that his arrest eventually led to the uncovering of a paramilitary recruitment drive.

“Invisible Children reported that Komakech had been in Nairobi and had recently reappeared in Gulu, where he was staying with the NGO,” the cable – written by US ambassador Steven Browning – wrote.

“Security organisations jumped on the tip and immediately arrested him.”

The emergence of the cable will pose further questions for the US-based charity, which is entitled to not-for-profit status on the condition that it does not engage in security or semi-political measures.

The charity has distanced itself from the report, with a spokesperson telling Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper that the tale in the cable was “not true”.

“We are not involved in anything to do with security. We only deal with development,” the spokeswoman said.

Invisible Children rose to global prominence last month when its 30-minute video about Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army guerilla group, attracted worldwide attention and briefly became the most viral video in online history.

Its video was criticised, however, by groups who said it had manipulated some facts and presented a simplistic and outdated portrayal of Kony’s activities. A follow-up video was released last week.

Video: Invisible Children release sequel video to Kony 2012

Read: Tánaiste is ‘greatly concerned’ that Joseph Kony remains at large

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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