Capturing the scope and trajectory of changes in land use and land cover (LULC) is critical to urban and regional planning, natural resource sustainability and the overall information needs of policy makers. Studies on LULC change are generally conducted within peaceful environments and seldom incorporate areas that are politically volatile. Consequently, the role of civil conflict on LULC change remains elusive. Using a dense time stack of Landsat Thematic Mapper images and a hybrid classification approach, this study analysed LULC changes in Kono District between 1986–1991, 1991–2002 and 2002–2007 with the overarching goal of elucidating deviations from typical changes in LULC caused by Sierra Leone's civil war (1991–2002). Informed by social survey and secondary data, this study engaged the drivers that facilitated LULC changes during war and non-war periods in a series of spatial regression models in exploring the interface between civil conflict and LULC change.