Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

List of armed groups in the Kivus

Armed groups in the eastern Congo are like brooms in Disney's (Goethe) Sorcerer's Apprentice: They just seem to keep multiplying. This is my effort to come up with a decent list of armed groups in the Kivus.




Gen Bosco Taganda

Gen Laurent Nkunda

Philippe Gafishi

Col Sultan Makenga

3,000-4,000 integrated

1,000-2,000 unitegrated

Control the Masisi highlands between Ngungu and Mweso

Protect Tutsi community

Protect interests of local elites (land, cows, businesses)


Gen Sylvestre Mudacumura


Deployed in rural areas throughout rural South and North Kivu and Maniema.

Extract resources, maintain ideology overthrowing RPF but little hope


Gen Janvier Buingo

Comd Innocent Balume

Comd Innocent Dunga


Centered around Nyabiondo, western Masisi.

Protect local Hunde community, in particular against ex-CNDP troops.

Mai-Mai Cheka

Colonel Cheka


Based around Mubi and Njigala, Walikale

Benefit from taxation rackets and put pressure on mining companies workin in the Bisie mine.


Gen Ntasibanga



Lubero/Masisi territory


“Gen.” Gadi Ngabo


In Rutshuru territory and Uganda

Galvanize former CNDP officers, obtain backing from Uganda.


Tumai Byamungu, official in ministry of interior


No permanently located troops, mostly within FARDC

Mostly kadogo from the AFDL era, multi-ethnic

Mai-Mai Mongol

Bigembe Nturinkukiko

Felicien Miganda

Dieudonne Shobora


In southern Masisi

Composed of Hutu

Partially integrated into FARDC

Mai-Mai Kifuafua

Colonel Delphin Mbaende

Didier Bitaki

Colonel Akilimali


In southern Masisi territory

Partially integrated into FARDC

Mostly Hunde and Tembo

Mai-Mai Simba

Colonel Marhegane

100-200 (?)

Around Miti, Kabare territory

A split off from the former Mudundu 40 group


Gen Venant Bisogo

Gen Michel Rukunda


In Biabo forest, Fizi territory

Mai Mai Yakutumba

Col Yakutumba


Around Baraka, Fizi territory

Strong anti-Tutsi ideology

Collaboration with FDLR

Mostly from Bembe community

Raia Mutomboki

Political representative: Gilbert Ngongo of South Kivu provincial assembly


Shabunda territory

A self-defense group with little capacity that lies dormant most of the time

Jeshi la Uma


Shabunda territory

Mai Mai Zabuloni

Colonel Zabuloni (now in Bukavu, leadership struggle)


Rusizi plains, moyen plateau of Uvira territory

Little coherent ideology

Soldier mostly from Fuliro community

Mai Mai Kirikicho

Colonel Kirikicho

50-200 (?)

In high plateau of Kalehe territory, Bunyakiri

Declared over 1,300 combatants but none entered integration process

Poorly organized and disciplined

Mai Mai Nyakiriba

Colonel Nyakiriba


Around Kasika, Mwenga territory

Not very active

Mai Mai Kapopo

Colonel Kapopo


Around Miki, Mwenga territory

Not very active

Mai-Mai Kyatende

“General” Kyatende Dittman


Southern Shabunda

Kyatende was the manager of the Muungano soccer team in Bukavu and was married to a German women before he decided to start an armed rebellion in 2010.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Stearns,

Hello. I would most greatly appreciate some clarifications on this and the previous post on Gadi Ngabo's militia, said to be the FLEC. The split between Bosco and the Nkundists was present from the beginning, that is given. Rwanda supported Bosco for reasons including what is stated above.

On Oct. 17 you reported that Bosco was forging ties with Ugandan businessmen over the logging trade at Bunagana and trying to win Ugandan support. No mention of Gadi was made in this instance. Bosco had an arms cache in Ngungu, where Gadi hails from. The UN reported Gadi was recruting new fighters in Rutshuru this initiative had the backing of Raphael Soriano, an Nkunda loyalist and financier you investigated.

On Nov 5 09, you reported "Bosco's troops" realigning along Ishasha with the help and cooperation of his cousin Gadi Ngabo, who is also Wilson Nsengiyumva's brother, a CNDP officer loyal to Bosco, and that Gadi was in Kampala with Floribert Kisembo, also "close" to Bosco.

In a detailed report on Nov 19, you outlined the situation between the 2 factions and stated Gadi was helping Bosco's recruiting campaign from the Ugandan border area in Rutshuru.

On Nov 29, Josh Kron reports the launch of the FLEC with Bosco at the head. The group was incorporating Hutu who were dissatisfied Mai-Mai, Hutu allied with Serufuli, and some former FDLR, some of these elements and their backers, it was suggested, felt threatened by the Nande power base in the area (a simplistic outline).

On Dec 1, 09, you reported on this blog the FLEC was led by Bosco.

Then later Gadi was on VOA claiming to be the founding the FLEC.

Of course, the Nkundists are angry with Rwanda for arresting him, so their turn to Uganda, which began in 2008, is not surprising as the proxy war between the two states has not ceased since 2001. Rwanda clearly believes rightly or wrongly that they have entered a coalition against them as your source correctly noted that ex-CNDP soldiers and politicians in Rwanda have been detained en masse since May.

My main question is when and why did Gadi, a relative and supporter of Bosco's Rwandan-backed FLEC (now referred to as CNDP?) and Mugogwe turn and join the anti-Rwandan primarily Bajomba Nkundists? I realize the ties to Uganda are there since Gadi stayed in Kampala for a long time, the CNDP cultivated ties with business elites bc of Bunaganda, recruited fighters, recieved arms and training from Uganda in 2008, but how has the relationship between Bosco and Gadi been affected?

One of the main questions is when and why did Ngabo supposedly split from Bosco and align fully with Nkundists and Uganda? Are Bosco and Gadi still working together in some capacity? Who is the real FLEC or are they two separate branches of the same? The reasoning and motives seem to muddy.

Thank you very much for your time and attention to this post (and the same to anyone else who has anything to contribute). I apologize for such a long "comment" but as you know perhaps better than anyone the situation is very complex, dynamic, and the details are almost a necessity in discussing it.

Jason Stearns said...


Sorry, but it's a big confused mess at the moment with internal CNDP politics. You have good questions, and I dont really have any good answers for the moment. I will try to get back to you soon with some more intelligent analysis.

BWL said...

Is there an estimate of the number of FARDC forces (sans "integrated" CNDP) currently deployed in the Kivus?

-Also, thanks for the interesting presentation at Columbia back in March.-

Anonymous said...

Well, if nothing else I at least have the 2 groups sorted out. Simple and silly error on my part committed by confusing acronyms. This should help keep track a bit.

Bosco's group = FLEC (not CNDP)

Ngabo's group = FPLC (NOT to be confused with the FPJC in Orientale Province)

Tanja Bergen said...

Do you have any thoughts/ suggestions for sources on RUD/ RUD URANA? Are they an FDLR offshoot/affiliate?

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