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Joseph Kony victim demands justice

By David McKenzie, CNN
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A man abducted as a boy by the Lord's Resistance Army says it's time to bring its leader Joseph Kony to justice
  • Jacob Acaye was featured in the film "Kony 2012" which has renewed public interest in the Ugandan warlord
  • He took CNN to a village near Gulu town to show the hut from where he was abducted by the LRA
  • He successfully escaped after watching his brother be executed for a failed escape attempt

Koro, Uganda (CNN) -- One of the abducted boys featured in the viral video demanding the capture of infamous warlord Joseph Kony is now a man and says the time for justice has arrived.

Jacob Acaye, now 21, revisited the village where he was abducted by Kony's Lord's Resistance Army to tell why Kony's crimes should not be forgotten.

His story has touched millions since it was featured in "Kony 2012," a video from the Invisible Children charity that created a global online buzz and renewed public interest in capturing Kony.

Critics have questioned the film's accuracy and warned that it oversimplified the situation in Uganda.

Kony first unleashed his fury in eastern Africa more than two decades ago and is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

The LRA terrorized Uganda in a brutal campaign against the government and civilian population. Since 2006, when it was pushed out of northern Uganda, it has largely operated in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

Invisible Children aimed to make Kony a household name and drum up global support to end the murders, rapes, abductions and other abuses committed by the LRA.

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Acaye -- sitting a few meters from where he was abducted -- told CNN: "Whenever a brother is in a problem, whenever anybody is in a problem, it should get the attention of everyone in the world.

"It has been going on for the last 26 years. It shows that we are failing to solve it. And if there are any means that someone can help and it goes to end, then why not Americans get involved.

"For me the criticism [of "Kony 2012"] is unfair, because if I am to say it is fair then I wouldn't be here. Right now I wouldn't have been able to go to school. You wouldn't have been able to speak to me right now because I had no hope in my life. I reached even a point when I said, 'I can even die now' because I thought it would be the immediate resolution of my suffering, you know."

Acaye's home was Koro, a small dusty village -- a handful of circular huts off the main north-south road. There is little more than a track through the village and the occasional cockerel wanders from hut to hut.

As Acaye squatted down on the edge of Koro he said he has watched an earlier version of the Kony film, but added "It brings [back] a lot of memories. Sometimes I get sad when I watch it."

LRA rebels raided Koro in the middle of the night, smashing down the door in the hut where he was sleeping. He says they took 40 children that night.

Acaye said his brother tried to escape the LRA but was captured and executed. It was the sight of his brother being killed that made Acaye realize he had no choice but to try to escape.

He managed to reach the town of Gulu, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) from his village, and a shelter where he found safety.

Now, after more than five years of peace in Northern Uganda many wonder if the online movie highlighting Kony's crimes is too late.

Acaye is now chasing the childhood ambition he thought was lost forever -- studying law in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

He says the LRA has left his village but justice must be done.

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