Congo Conflict

The evolving Landscape of Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

(Click here to jump immediately to the mappings and genealogies of armed conflict in eastern Congo)

Two decades of armed conflict have created a complex topography in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Current estimates by research institutions, multilateral and non-governmental organisations, and individual analysts indicate a myriad of over fifty armed groups of all sorts and shapes across the Kivu provinces, Maniema, Orientale, and Katanga. While some of them are not more than rag-tag groups of 10-20 ‘bandits’ or vigilante groups, others dispose over large-scale – either centralised or guerilla-styled – command structures, supply routes, and sophisticated tactics.

Almost all these groups have committed violent acts against either civilian population or opposed actors. Nonetheless, almost all these groups carry (at least to some extent) a political ideology and motivation. Whether self-defense, grievance over land and/or resources, political participation, or others and whether justified or not, is subject to respective debate.

Since its third edition, also the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo positions feature in these maps, however as fixed positions of the respective units as of early 2014 and not spheres of influence. This causes methodological problems in reading the map but a better way is yet to be found.

The mapping below provides basic information on the current topography of  these armed groups operating in the DRC. It maps a larger part of these groups, including those most relevant for the politico-military landscape of eastern DRC in terms of strength and/or impact on ongoing politico-military developments in the country.

The background map used for this mapping exercise is a combination of RGC’s and UNDP’s provincial maps for North and South Kivu. All data used has been compiled by a wide range of complementary sources amended by scrutiny of several individual researchers to whom I am deeply grateful while maintaining full anonymity (while errors remain mine). Further sources, where open to disclosure, are indicated on the maps for transparency reasons.

The maps below aim at tentatively situating many of the key armed groups in North and South Kivu at various points of time (in a roughly trimestrial interval). As this is work in progress, the exact proportions may not always exactly display the real situation. Note that the marked areas are approximate zones of influence and not clearly demarcated territories since it is impossible, even for a concrete point in time, to exactly indicate the locations. For most groups, the actual territory they permanently control is likely to be smaller.

Please also note that by producing this map I do not – by any means – endorse dominant narratives of state failure or similar. Rather this map is supposed to serve as a resource to underpin the complex intricacies of state and non-state governance, and the arena in which statehood is negotiated among a variety of actors claiming authority in eastern Congo. This is work in progress and will always remain such. It is neither fully exhaustive nor exact.

List of non-state armed actors in eastern DRC in 2015

North Kivu  
Beni ADF-Baluku

ADF-Kiserekanyo

FOLC-Kandenga

FOLC-Kitobi

Mayi-Mayi Muganda

Mayi-Mayi Sibenda (ex-Lusenge)

Kasindiens

Mayi-Mayi Nguru

Bisamaza group

Lubero MPLC

NDC-Sheka

NDC-Guidon

Mayi-Mayi Simba/Manu

FDK

UPCP-Lafontaine

UPCP-Damaceni

Shetani-FPD

FDLR-FOCA

Mayi-Mayi PRM/PAREM

Mayi-Mayi Vurundo

Rutshuru FDLR-Soki

FDLR-RUD

FDLR-FOCA

(Nyatura-)Bapfakururimi (RUC)

Nyatura-Muchoma (FODP-Vutura)

AFAPRM (ex-Shetani)

Masisi FDLR-FOCA

APCLS

FDC-Guides

Nyatura-FDDH

Nyatura-Delta (ex-Kigingi/Kapopi)

Nyatura-Kalume

Nyatura-Noheri (M26)

Walikale Mayi-Mayi Simba/Kichamuka

Raia Mutomboki Ngowa

Raia Mutomboki Shebitembe

Raia Mutomboki Akilo

Raia Mutomboki Mirage

Raia Mutomboki Elenge

Mayi-Mayi Kifuafua

FDN-Wamaza

MAC

NDC-Sheka

NDC-Guidon

South Kivu
Kalehe Raia Mutomboki Shukuru

Raia Mutomboki Hamakombo

Raia Mutomboki Musole

Raia Mutomboki Butachibera

Raia Mutomboki Mweeke

Raia Mutomboki Imani Bitaa

Mayi-Mayi Kirikicho

Raia Mutomboki Blaise

Nyatura-Kalume

Mayi-Mayi Kifuafua

Kabare Raia Mutomboki Lukoba

Raia Mutomboki Kashungushungu

Walungu Raia Mutomboki Maheshe

Raia Mutomboki Ndarumanga

Mwenga FDLR-FOCA

Mayi-Mayi Nyakiliba

Shabunda Raia Mutomboki ex-Sisawa

Raia Mutomboki Makombo

Raia Mutomboki Takulengwe

Raia Mutomboki Donat/Ngandu

Raia Mutomboki Nyanderema

Uvira Nyamusharaba (Tawimbi ex-FRF)

Mayi-Mayi Toto

Mayi-Mayi Fujo

Mayi-Mayi Mwenyemali

Mayi-Mayi Nyerere

Mayi-Mayi Mushombe

Mayi-Mayi Mahoro

Mayi-Mayi Karakara/Amuse-Gueulle

Mayi-Mayi Simusizi

Mayi-Mayi Gere-Kilolo

LDF Banyamulenge

LDF Banyindu

LDF Moliere

LDF Mahinduzi

LDF Santos

LDF Kashumba

FNL-Nzabampema

Bede-MCC

FDLR-FOCA

Fizi Mayi-Mayi Mulumba

Mayi-Mayi Yakutumba

Mayi-Mayi Bwasakala/Reunion (FPC)

Mayi-Mayi MDLC (Chochi/Yenga)

FDLR-FOCA

Orientale Mayi Mayi Morgan

Front de Résistance Populaire de l’Ituri (FRPI)

FLPC

M18

Katanga Mayi Mayi Bakata Katanga

Mayi Mayi Gédeon

Coalition pour le Referendum au Katanga (CORAK)

Maniema Mayi Mayi Simba

Mayi Mayi Kabambare

Mayi Mayi Lumumba

Raia Mutomboki Maniema

List of defunct or idle armed groups during 2010 and 2015:

  • Mouvement du 23 mars (M23)
  • Mouvement Populaire d’Autodéfense (MPA)-Nyatura
  • Force de Défense d’Intérêts du Peuple Congolais (FDIPC)-Nyatura
  • Konjonjo-Nyatura
  • M26-Nyatura
  • Mayi Mayi Shetani-Forces Populaires pour la Démocratie (FPD)
  • Mayi Mayi Luc/Kumu
  • Union pour la Réhabilitation de la Démocratie du Congo (URDC)/Mayi Mayi Hilaire (ex-FOLC)
  • Local Defense Busumba
  • M27
  • Raia Mutomboki Nduma
  • Raia Mutomboki Musumbu
  • Coalition Raia Mukombozi
  • Front pour la Restauration de la Démocratie (FRD, Burundi)
  • Muhima Nkingi (possibly with Alliance de libération de l’est du Congo, ALEC?)
  • Mayi Mayi Mayele/Force Populaire pour la Défense du Congo (FPDC)
  • Mayi Mayi Chochi/UCCB (MPDC coalition?)
  • Mayi Mayi Aoci (MPDC coalition?)
  • Mayi Mayi Jules
  • Mayi Mayi ex-Kapopo/Eradi
  • Mayi Mayi Mupekenya
  • Sikatenda group
  • Mayi Mayi Totye
Comments
18 Responses to “Congo Conflict”
  1. josaphat Musamba says:

    felicitations christoph pour cet effort car i en manquait mais je pense que pour les Raiya Mutomboki , le Groupe de Kigulube s’appelle déjà Mukombozi depuis la fin de l’année dernière conf§re le document historique de Kengwa Omari Dont

  2. Encore un article franchement attractif

  3. On remarquе direct qսe vouѕ coոnaissez bien lee thème

  4. This is great, thanks so much for this!

  5. This is great work and good sound analysis

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  1. […] For a current comprehensive mapping of armed groups, see here. […]

  2. […] For a mapping of armed groups in Masisi territory, see Christoph Vogel. […]

  3. […] More than four years after the signing of the Dodd-Frank Act, only a small fraction of the hundreds of mining sites in the eastern DRC have been reached by practical measures emanating from Dodd-Frank legislation, such as supply chain traceability or mineral export certification. As of now, four areas (Nyabibwe, Rubaya, Lemera, and Nzibira) have been introduced into traceability schemes allowing for legal trade in tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3T) minerals. While they include around 30 mining sites, the overwhelming majority of mining sites (far more than 1000 across the provinces of North and South Kivu alone) has not become part of the bagging-and-tagging system iTSCi, put in place by the international tin industry body ITRI. The result is a de facto embargo targeting the lion’s share of Congolese mining communities, while at the same time violence and the presence of armed groups have not significantly decreased in the region. […]

  4. […] APCLS’s areas of influence as of June, see the mapping of Christoph […]

  5. […] did after Operation Rwenzori in 2010.” For ADF’s approximate location as of recent, see the mapping by Christoph […]

  6. […] Mer thun fer yeers aft'r t'signyun' o't' Dodd-Frank Ack, onlee a small fracshun o't' hundreds o'minyun' sites n' t'eastern DRC have bee reechet by practical meesures emanatyun' frum Dodd-Frank legislayshun, such as supplee chane traceebilitee er mineral expert certificashun. As o'noe, fer arees (Nyabibwe, Rubaya, Lemera, an' Nzibira) have bee innerduced into traceebilitee schemes a'lettin fer legal trade n' tin, tantalum, an' tungste (3T) minerals. Wile thay include roun 30 minyun' sites, t'overwhelmyun' majeritee o'minyun' sites (fur mer thun 1000 across t'provinces o'Nerth an' South Kivu alone) has nairy becum part o't' baggyun'-an'-taggyun' system iTSCi, put n' place by t'internatyunal tin industry bodee ITRI. T' result is a de facto embargo targetyun' t'lion’s share o'Congolese minyun' communitees, wile at t'same time violence an' t'presence o'armet groups have nairy signifikuntlee decreeset n' t'region. […]

  7. […] More than four years after the signing of the Dodd-Frank Act, only a small fraction of the hundreds of mining sites in the eastern DRC have been reached by practical measures emanating from Dodd-Frank legislation, such as supply chain traceability or mineral export certification. As of now, four areas (Nyabibwe, Rubaya, Lemera, and Nzibira) have been introduced into traceability schemes allowing for legal trade in tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3T) minerals. While they include around 30 mining sites, the overwhelming majority of mining sites (far more than 1000 across the provinces of North and South Kivu alone) has not become part of the bagging-and-tagging system iTSCi, put in place by the international tin industry body ITRI. The result is a de facto embargo targeting the lion’s share of Congolese mining communities, while at the same time violence and the presence of armed groups have not significantly decreased in the region. […]

  8. […] support, arms and ammunition. The group is operating in Mambasa and Bafwasende districts in Orientale Province. While the Mai Mai Morgan militia has no official objective, the group has been heavily involved in […]

  9. […] ammunition. The group is operating in Mambasa and Bafwasende districts in Orientale Province (see mapping by Christoph […]

  10. […] ammunition. The group is operating in Mambasa and Bafwasende districts in Orientale Province (see mapping by Christoph Vogel). While the Morgan has no official objective, the group has been heavily involved […]

  11. […] the role of these minerals is much more ambiguous. While it is true that various actors within a myriad of about 50 non-state armed groups in eastern Congo prey on natural resource deposits, recent observations show that most of these groups carefully […]

  12. […] of influence of more than 50 armed groups in North and South Kivu.  Read about his methodology here.  Click to enlarge the […]



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