Ben Affleck Lends Star Power on African Atrocities

He and 'Washington Post' columnist hear tales of LRA brutalities
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2012 1:04 PM CST
Ben Affleck Lends Star Power on African Atrocities
In this file photo, Josephine, 3, sits with her grandmother as she recovers after Lord's Resistance Army rebels killed her parents and twisted her neck, leaving her paralyzed, at a hospital in Congo.   (AP Photo/T.J. Kirkpatrick)

Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army have been terrorizing central Africa for years, "but the net around him tightens," writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post. Gerson accompanied Ben Affleck, who founded the Eastern Congo Initiative, to the region to hear first-hand the tales of atrocities from those lucky enough to have escaped. (See a photo gallery here.) Followers think Kony "is a supernatural being," says one teen who escaped his soldiers after years of captivity. "He has a power over them.”

Survivors' stories and scattered reports of LRA units displaying signs of desperation and stress suggest that the end of Kony's reign may be in sight, writes Gerson. The US has taken steps to speed his demise but can do more through international pressure and military aid. "After a four-year nightmare, Francoise hopes to go back to school," he writes of the teen. "Joseph Kony, the author of nightmares, remains at large in some jungle camp. He is not a supernatural being. He is human, and thus mortal. It is time to prove it." (More Ben Affleck stories.)

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