Mai Mai (Mayi Mayi) (Congo Kinshasa)

Country: Congo Kinshasa
Details of Formation: The Mai Mai are local militias. Sources report that they are allied with President Kabila who used them during the Second Congo War to fight against rebels of the Rally for Congolese Democracy and civilians.
Details of Termination: From February 2005 onwards, sources report about the militia as a former PGM. Moreover, the Mai Mai fights against the regular Congolese army. However, in October the sources write about the Mai Mai as a PGM and there is evidence of an alliance between the Mai Mai and the army. In May 2009, there is first evidence that Mai-Mai militias were integrated into DRC national army FARDC, although this happened only partially. Some Mai-Mai militias continue to exist as a rebel group in Eastern DRC and neighbouring countries. Therefore, the group ceases to be a PGM in 2009.
Purpose: The militias often carried out attacks against civilians and rebels alongside other ethnic militias such as the Interahamwe or the Burundi Hutu militias. President Kabila formed an alliance with them, so that they could support his Armed Forces and the other pro-government militias during the Second Congo War.
Organisation: Although the militia receives support from the Congolese government and operates in their interest, there are also individuals that act independently from the government. Furthermore, the Mai Mai is an umbrella term for multiple ethnic militias that are pro-government. (Verweijen 2012: 158)
Weapons and Training: The DRC government supplies the militia with arms and offers them training.
Size: There is no information about the PGM’s size.
Reason for Membership: Mai-Mai members are motivated to join because they feel threatened of foreigners who might take away their power. In addition, payment by President Kabila’s government created further incentives to join the PGM. (Verweijen 2015: 158)
Treatment of Civilians: The militia used extreme violence against civilians if their power was threatened (Verweijen 2015: 158). When villagers refused to give the militiamen their belongings, they were killed. This behavior was tolerated by the Congolese government by continuing its support for them. In March 2005 the Mai Mai burned down multiple villages in the Katanga province.
Other Information: The Congolese government gave the Mai Mai an official status by incorporating chief commanders of the PGM into the regular forces. For example, in 1999 the leader of a Mai-Mai group in Fizi was appointed to the position of a colonel in the army (Verweijen 2015: 164). Note that Mai Mai is an umbrella term for dozens of militias divided along clan/ethnic/tribal/village/ regional lines. There is not one mai mai militia--although they are (according to an article in Foreign Affairs) mostly pro-government.
References: Verweijen, Judith. 2015. "From autochthony to violence? Discursive and coercive social practices of the Mai-Mai in Fizi, eastern DR Congo." African Studies Review 58(2): 157-180.