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.
Date2004–2009 (First phase)
4 April 2012 – 7 November 2013 (Second phase)
31 January 2015[1] – present (Third phase)
(17 years)
Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (spillovers in Rwanda, Burundi and Ituri Province, Katanga Province, 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

CNDP (2006–2009)
M23 (2012–2013)
Supported by:


 DR Congo

Pro-government Mai-Mai militias
FDLR (2006–2014)
APCLS[5] (2012–2013)
Nyatura (2012–2014)
 Botswana (Against FNL and FNL-Nzabampema only) Supported by:


APCLS[6] (2013–2016)
FNL-Nzabampema (2013–present)
(1993–2009 and



NDC-R (2014-present)
Nduma Defense of Congo[7](2008–2017)
Mai Mai Yakutumba (2009–present)
CNPSC (2017–present)
Other Anti-government Mai Mai militas[8] (1996–present)
Raia Mutomboki[9] (2005–present)

 Islamic State (Central Africa Province)
Mai-Mai Kyandenga (2016–2017, 2019–present)
Commanders and leaders

Laurent Nkunda (POW)
Bosco Ntaganda 
Sultani Makenga 

Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerero 

Joseph Kabila (to 2019)
Félix Tshisekedi (from 2019)
Gen. Gabriel Amisi Kumba
Maj. Gen. Lucien Bahuma
Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Lombe[10] Ignace Murwanashyaka (POW)
Babacar Gaye
Gen. Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz
José Eduardo dos Santos
Robert Mugabe

Ian Khama

Sylvestre Mudacumura[11]
Callixte Mbarushimana
Ignace Murwanashyaka (POW)
Janvier Buingo Karairi (APCLS)
Agathon Rwasa (FNL/Palipehutu)

Aloys Nzabampema (FNL-Nzabampema)

Guidon Shimiray Mwissa
Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka 
(Nduma Defense of Congo)
William Yakutumba (Mai Mai Yakutumba/CNPSC)
Devos Kagalaba 
(Raia Mutomboki)

Salumu Kaseke 
(Raia Mutomboki)
6,000–8,000 CNDP (2007)[12]
5,500+ M23 (2012)

2004: 20,000 total troops;[12][13]

  • 14,000 FARDC troops
  • 4,000–5,000 Mai Mai militia[13]


  • 3,500 Mai-Mai militia[14]
  • 6,000–7,000 FDLR[14]

2013: 22,016 UN Monusco Uniformed personnel (2013)[15]
2,000 FDLR[16]
1,500 ACPLS[17]
3,000 FNL/Palipehutu
Hundreds of FNL-Nzabampema
1,000–1,250 (2018)[18]
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 [citation needed]

: 17+ killed[19][20]
Unknown Unknown
More than 1.4 million internally displaced persons,[21]
hundreds of thousands of excess deaths,
11,873+ people killed
(including civilians and combatants of each sides)[22][23][19][24][25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

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 Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), by the DRC army, and by United Nations forces.