This paper aims to place the Ituri conflict into its social setting, arguing the outbreak of violence resulted from the exploitation, by local and regional actors, of a deeply rooted local political conflict for access to land, economic opportunity and political power. Secondly, it is asserted that, although foreign elements (i.e. the UPDF and RDF, formerly RPA) contributed significantly to the escalation of the political crisis in Ituri, the war also provided a perfect platform for local political and economic actors to redefine their positions in this new political and economic landscape.

Eventually, this emerging political complex has led to the development of a new political economy characterized by a shift from traditional to military rule, to privatized, non-territorial networks of economic control, and to the consolidation of ethnic bonds in the economic and political sphere.