Kony film translated to Ugandan local language
Thousands of people filled a stadium in the northern Ugandan city of Gulu Saturday, as a controversial film about the war lord Joseph Kony was for the first time shown dubbed into a local language.
Although Uganda's official language is English, Luo is spoken by about 90% of Gulu's inhabitants, often as a first language.
Representatives from the nongovernmental organization Invisible Children hosted the screening of the film Kony 2012 along with government officials.
"Our message is that Kony ... killed his own people and now he has extended the war into the DR Congo and the Central African Republic," Invisible Children's Grace Laker told dpa. "We are calling for the international community to act."
Among the 6 000 people who watched the screening was 18-year-old Geoffrey Odongo, who was abducted by Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) at the age of 10.
"(The rebels) raided our home at night," he told dpa. "We were asleep and they took five of us away. That day they abducted over 40 people in our village. I spent four months in captivity but I later managed to escape."
Kony and four of his commanders have been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, but they have never been arrested. Kony is believed to have left northern Uganda for central Africa.
Invisible Children said they released the film in order to bring Kony to justice. It was released online in early March, and has received widespread international attention with more than 1.6 million hits since then.
However the film has also been criticised by East Africa experts for oversimplifying the northern Uganda rebellion. Some commentators expressed outrage that the film did not contextualise the footage or explain that LRA attacks in northern Uganda ended in 2006.
At the time of release, Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire called Kony 2012 an example of "portraying people with one single story and using old footage to cause hysteria".
The Ugandan government also charged that the video destroyed the country's image by implying that northern Uganda was still at war.
"The film gave an impression that there was war going on because it did not have details," minister for northern Uganda Rebecca Amuge Otengo told the crowd on Saturday.
"But overall it also has a good side because it shows to the world, the atrocities of Kony," she said.
A second version of the film, intended to delve deeper into the issue, was released online in English in early April, but received comparatively few hits.