Jacob Acaye, the former child soldier featured in the “Kony 2012″ viral sensation, told ABC News today that although attention from the film was overwhelming, his life was good now and it was important for people to see the video.
“It’s a hard movie,” he said today in an exclusive interview. “It brought back some memories. … I still don’t know when will it end. The more time is ticking, the more people are dying. The more people are still suffering. The more people [are] being abducted.”
At the age of 11, Acaye was one of 41 youth taken from a Ugandan village by Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army.
In the video, Acaye, who escaped from the LRA, was interviewed by videographer Jason Russell, a cofounder of the San Diego-based charity Invisible Children Inc.
“We worry. The rebels when they arrest us again, then they will kills us,” he says in the video. “My brother tried to escape. Then they killed him. … They cut his neck. … I saw.”
“Kony 2012″ has garnered nearly 58 million views since Monday. It is part of a campaign by Invisible Children to bring Kony to justice, although the group has faced its own critics for its religious affiliations and financial practices.
In “Kony 2012,” he tells Russell that even though he’s not with the LRA, he wants to die. Then, at least, he would be reunited with his brother.
“No one is taking care of us,” he says. “We are not going to school.”
Acaye is now 21 and studying to become a lawyer at Uganda’s Makerere University — it’s a wish he shared in the 30-minute film released by Invisible Children.
He said that when the video was shot — he was 13 — he did not think it would reach this level of success.
“By then, I was like really, really invisible — like real meaning of invisible children,” he said. “We are like the children who are not seen. Children who are not even knowing that they are suffering.”
Acaye told ABC News today that while the video reminded him of horrible memories of his childhood, it made people aware of Kony.
“If they [people] know and they have seen and they could learn that Kony is still being the same in that movie, they can think about what to do,” he said. “And they can think about what they can do.”
Human rights groups say the LRA has terrorized Central Africa for more than 20 years, killing and maiming thousands of civilians and forcing children to become young soldiers. Kony and his commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court.
Enjoli Francis in New York contributed to this story.