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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Rebels and the City

Rebels and the City

Key Points

  • Despite focusing the bulk of their operations on rural areas, armed groups in the eastern Congo have long-standing connections with urban centres.
  • Technological progress, such as mobile communication, and enhanced movement, especially through motorcycle taxis, have intensified these connections.
  • These relations rely on mutual advantages: Urban-based supporters can bolster their political leverage and business activities, while rural-based groups benefit from communication channels and supply networks.
  • While vital to the survival of armed groups, initiatives to address armed group mobilization largely ignore these rural-urban connections. This limits their effectiveness.
  • Efforts should be stepped up to document the complex rural-urban connections within militarized networks, including money flows, by creating a mixed Congolese-international ‘Group of Experts’ on armed mobilization.
  • Recent Publications