WASHINGTON — Two months ago, few people would have recognized Jacob Acaye, a young Ugandan who was abducted by Joseph Kony's army.
But an Internet video viewed more than 100 million times since early March has made Acaye into something of a celebrity and a hero to young people who have watched Kony 2012.
That was evident here Thursday, when a group of eighth-graders visiting the U.S. Capitol spotted Acaye as he prepared for a news conference with two U.S. senators and the CEO of Invisible Children, which sponsored the video.
The students, from Westchester, N.Y., rushed over to get closer. Prompted by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., some of the students said they knew about Kony — “He's a warlord in Africa and he kidnaps children” — and what needs to be done: “Get him arrested.”
Acaye shook some of the students' hands and thanked them.
“What you guys have been doing made me who I am right now,” he said.
Acaye, 22, is now studying law in Uganda.
The scenes of a younger Acaye, whose brother was killed by the Lord's Resistance Army, are among the most heartbreaking in Kony 2012. In one, he breaks down while talking about meeting his brother in heaven.
It was children such as Acaye that got Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, to start a years-long effort to raise awareness of Kony and to steer U.S. policy toward capturing or killing him. Inhofe learned about Kony on a 2005 visit to Uganda, where he also met the young Americans who would later form Invisible Children and make films about the Lord's Resistance Army.