The growing militarisation of nature conservation has refocused attention on the relations between counterinsurgency and conservation. This contribution analyses how these two phenomena entwine in the Virunga National Park, located in the war-ridden east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It examines how this entwinement relates to dynamics of conflict and violence, and how these dynamics shape and are shaped by the livelihood and resistance practices of local inhabitants. As it shows, a particularly important form of resistance is ‘guerrilla livelihood’ activities, or cultivation, (prohibited) fishing and logging within the boundaries of the park, which often take place under the protection of armed groups. By studying the interplay among such unauthorised exploitation of natural resources, different types of conflict, and insurgent mobilisation, it is demonstrated that strict law enforcement and joint operations of the Congolese army and park guards fuel, rather than mitigate, the dynamics feeding into armed mobilisation.