Kivu conflict

The Kivu conflict began in 2004 in the eastern Congo as an armed conflict between the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and the Hutu Power group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has broadly consisted of three phases, the third of which is an ongoing conflict. Prior to March 2009, the main combatant group against the FARDC was the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). Following the cessation of hostilities between these two forces, rebel Tutsi forces, formerly under the command of Laurent Nkunda, became the dominant opposition to the government forces.

Kivu Conflict
Part of the aftermath of the Second Congo War

Approximate map of current military situation in Kivu.
For a detailed map, see here. Clases and incidents map:
Date2 June 2004[1] – 27 February 2009 (First phase)
4 April 2012 – 7 November 2013 (Second phase)
31 January 2015[2] – present (Third phase)
(19 years)
Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (spillovers in Rwanda, Burundi and Ituri, Maniema and Tanganyika provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo)


  • FARDC victory against the CNDP and the M23 Movement
  • CNDP becomes a political party in the DRC
  • M23 Movement signs peace agreement with the DRC government
  • FDLR, Mai-Mai militias and other armed groups still active in Eastern DRC
  • UN and FARDC begin operation to defeat the FDLR and their allies at the start of 2015
Democratic Republic of the Congo M23
(from 2012; temporarily rebranded as "M27")[3]
CNDP (2006–2009)
Supported by:
 Rwanda[4][5] Burundi (Alleged)

 DR Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo Pro-government Mai-Mai militias
FDLR (2006–2014)
APCLS[6] (2012–2013)
Nyatura (2012–2014)
United Nations MONUSCO
 Botswana (against FNL and FNL–Nzabampema)
Supported by:
FDLR (2014–)
APCLS[7] (2013–2016)
RUD–Urunana (2006–)
Nyatura (2014–)
FNL–Nzabampema (2013–)
FNL/Palipehutu (1993–2009, 2010–2013)
FPB (2015–)
RED–Tabara (2015–)

NDC-R (2014–)
Mai-Mai Sheka[8](2008–2017)
Mai Mai Yakutumba (2009–)
CNPSC (2017–)
Other Anti-government Mai Mai militas[9]
Raia Mutomboki[10] (2005–)

Islamic State IS–CAP
Mai-Mai Kyandenga (2016–2017, 2019–)
Commanders and leaders
Laurent Nkunda (POW)
Democratic Republic of the Congo Bosco Ntaganda Surrendered
Democratic Republic of the Congo Sultani Makenga Surrendered
Democratic Republic of the Congo Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerero Surrendered
Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila (to 2019)
Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi (from 2019)
Democratic Republic of the Congo Gabriel Amisi Kumba
Democratic Republic of the Congo Lucien Bahuma
Democratic Republic of the Congo Emmanuel Lombe[11]
Ignace Murwanashyaka (POW)
United Nations Babacar Gaye
United Nations Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz
Angola João Lourenço
Angola José Eduardo dos Santos
Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa
Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe
Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi
Botswana Ian Khama
Sylvestre Mudacumura[12]
Callixte Mbarushimana
Ignace Murwanashyaka (POW)
Janvier Buingo Karairi (APCLS)
Agathon Rwasa (FNL/Palipehutu)
Aloys Nzabampema (FNL–Nzabampema)
Guidon Shimiray Mwissa
Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka Surrendered
(Mai-Mai Sheka)
William Yakutumba (Mai Mai Yakutumba/CNPSC)
Devos Kagalaba Surrendered
(Raia Mutomboki)
Salumu Kaseke Surrendered
(Raia Mutomboki)
6,000–8,000 CNDP (2007)[13]
5,500+ M23 (2012)

2004: 20,000 total troops;[13][14]

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo 14,000 FARDC troops
  • 4,000–5,000 Mai Mai militia[14]


  • 3,500 Mai-Mai militia[15]
  • 6,000–7,000 FDLR[15]

2013: 22,016 UN Monusco Uniformed personnel (2013)[16]
2,000 FDLR[17]
1,500 ACPLS[18]
3,000 FNL/Palipehutu
Hundreds of FNL–Nzabampema
1,000–1,250 (2018)[19]
Several thousand Raia Mutomboki militia
10,000+ other armed groups
Casualties and losses
CNDP: 233 killed[citation needed] FARDC: 71 killed[citation needed]
BDF: Unknown
United Nations 17+ killed[20][21]
Unknown Unknown
More than 1.4 million internally displaced persons,[22]
hundreds of thousands of excess deaths,
11,873+ people killed
(including civilians and combatants of each sides)[23][24][20][25][26]

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) has played a large role in the conflict. With a 21,000-strong force, the Kivu conflict constitutes the largest peacekeeping mission currently in operation. In total, 93 peacekeepers have died in the region, with 15 dying in a large-scale attack by an Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces, in North Kivu in December 2017.[27] The peacekeeping force seeks to prevent escalation of force in the conflict, and minimise human rights abuses like sexual assault and the use of child soldiers.[28]

CNDP is sympathetic to the Banyamulenge in Eastern Congo, an ethnic Tutsi group, and to the Tutsi-dominated government of neighboring Rwanda. It was opposed by the FDLR, by the DRC army, and by United Nations forces.

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