Mapping Conflict Motives: Eastern DRC (March 2008)

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The eastern DRC is still plagued by violent conflict. The centre of the conflict is the ‘Petit Nord’ region where two large armed groups, a coalition of smaller bands of armed men and the government army are all involved in a persisting battle causing enormous human suffering. In the neighbouring regions of the ‘Grand Nord’ and northern South-Kivu open warfare no longer takes place, but there is still a considerable presence of armed groups causing security problems.
Currently, Laurent Nkunda and his CNDP are fighting the other three warring parties.
The CNDP has positioned itself in those areas where previously the Congolese Tutsis were living. The CNDP is not only protecting the interests of the Tutsi people in general but also the specific economic interests of some of its members and sympathisers. It controls the grazing lands used by several rich cattle farmers and two mining areas. The army of Laurent Nkunda is infamous for its brutal human rights violations and the presence of child soldiers among its ranks.
The FDLR have adopted a passive stance vis-à-vis the Rwandan State but they continue to carry arms and frequently use them in military operations against the CNDP. They have chosen to live a hidden life on rough terrain. They are involved in different types of illegal business operations such as illegal mining and drug trafficking (hemp). For some of the FDLR it is probably more attractive to continue these business activities than to return to Rwanda. Especially a small group of ‘ex-génocidaires’ has an interest in maintaining the status quo. The relationship between the FDLR and the Congolese population is often based on fear and characterised by the tendency to dominate.
The Mayi-Mayi coalition of PARECO claims to defend the Congolese people against foreign armed groups. PARECO is clearly vindictive towards the CNDP. It seeks to conquer the lands that it claims are unrightfully occupied by the CNDP/the Tutsi. The Mayi-Mayi want to prevent the creation of a ‘Tutsi Land’.
The FARDC are the official protectors of the Congolese state and its population. The majority of their forces in the region have participated in the offensive against the CNDP. However, in the margins of this central conflict military units retain positions in remote areas where their main motive for deployment is to enrich themselves and their superiors. The FARDC is involved in a wide array of illegal trade for example: the trade of tropical timber in Beni, the trade in illegal drugs (hemp) in Lubero, which is a joint business operation with the FDLR, and the coltan trade in Shabunda. Several units have a bad human rights record.
Although there have been a few reports on military confrontations between the FARDC and the FDLR or the FARDC and Mayi-Mayi groups, in general the three ‘armies’ tend to cooperate in the fight against the forces of Laurent Nkunda.


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The maps

More information on the maps (sources, cartographic accuracy etc.) can be found in the report under the heading: ‘Presentation of the map collection’.

1. Web maps 

For instructions on how to use the web maps, see Annexe 2 in the above report.

September 2008 – A new map ‘Trade routes’ has been added and to all the other maps some adjustments have been made:

– the scale of the initial view has changed from 1:3,000,000 to 1:2,500,000 (1 cm = 25 km), that of the first zoom level from 1:1,500,000 to 1:1,000,000 (1 cm = 10 km), while that of the second zoom level has remained 1:500,000 (1 cm = 5 km)
– some cartographic features (places, roads) were added or adjusted on the basis of the Kivu Spacemaps (RMCA) and of the latest version (August 2008) of the vector data of the ‘Référentiel Géographique Commun’
– some information was added, especially to the ‘Natural resources’, ‘FDLR’ and ‘Mayi-Mayi’ maps (these last are no updates)
– some minor corrections were made

Unfortunately, due to logistic problems and the delicacy of the issue in the region, IPIS had to abandon the idea of publishing an ethnic map.

View the web maps

2. PDF maps 

The links below will lead you to a number of – slightly overlapping – PDF maps that cover our entire study area. 

These PDF maps present a series of ‘layers’, containing most of the different features of the web maps mentioned above. The maps are truly interactive: the user can switch on (visualise) or off (hide) the different layers, making his own feature combinations. On the other hand, the PDF maps do not have search functions or lists and do not allow click actions on map objects. 

To view the PDF maps with the different layers you need Adobe© Reader© version 6.0 or later. You can download the program for free from theAdobe© website.

View the PDF maps (legend): 

– northeast (scale 1:1,000,000) (1,067 kB): cities of Beni and Butembo, territories of Beni and northeastern Lubero
– northwest (scale 1:1,000,000) (899 kB): city of Butembo, territories of Lubero (except southern extremity), western Beni and northern Walikale
– east: city of Goma, territories of Nyiragongo, Rutshuru, Masisi, eastern Walikale and southern Lubero

northeast (scale 1:500,000) (4,213 kB): northern Rutshuru, northeastern Walikale, southern Lubero
southeast (scale 1:500,000) (9,223 kB): Goma, Nyiragongo, southern Rutshuru, eastern Masisi
southwest (scale: 1:500,000) (7,585 kB): Masisi, southwestern Rutshuru, southeastern Walikale
northwest (scale 1:500,000) (1,211 kB): northeastern Walikale, southwestern Lubero

– west (scale 1:1,000,000) (3,300 kB): territory of Walikale

– southeast (scale 1:1,000,000) (3,694 kB): city of Bukavu, territories of Idjwi (island), Kalehe, Kabare, Walungu and eastern Shabunda
– southwest (scale 1:1,000,000) (1,287 kB): territories of Shabunda (northern half) and southern Walikale