Mbo people (Cameroon)

Mbo people
Regions with significant populations
Cameroon 67,000[1]
Mbo language

The Mbo people are an Bantu group of the Mbo plain, Littoral Region, Moungo Division, Nkongsamba and Melong subdivisions and in the West Region, Menoua Division, Santchou Subdivision and Upper Nkam Division, Kekem Subdivision of Cameroon.[2]

The Bakossi Forest Reserve, which includes the Bakossi National Park, is mainly inhabited by the Bakossi people, but the population also includes Mbo as well as Manehas, Bakem, Baneka, and immigrant Bamiliki people.[3] The Mbo and Banyangi people live in and around the Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary. They hunt for bushmeat, which they sell fresh or smoked, and which is a good deal cheaper than other locally available forms of protein.[4]

The Mbo of West Cameroon originate from the Sandjou area in East Cameroon. The Mbo have been restricted to the southern banks of the Betse and Betenten rivers since 1900. They have a long tradition of conflict with the neighboring Bangwa people due to disputes over boundaries, oil palm groves, and kidnappings for slavery. The Bamileke chiefdoms of Fongo Tongo, Foto, Foreke Dschang, and Fondongela all claim origin from the Mbo. In other Bangwa chiefdoms, minor subchiefs claim Mbo ancestry.[5] The Mbo people are extremely poor. They do not have access to medical treatment so there is no HIV testing and counseling, although HIV/AIDS is prevalent.[6]


In 2013, discovery of a previously unknown Y-chromosomal haplogroup, dubbed haplogroup A00 was announced. First found in the Y-chromosome of an African American male submitted for commercial genealogical analysis, the haplogroup was identified in eleven Y chromosomes of Mbo males (out of a sample of 174, corresponding to 6.3%).[7] The discovery of this ancestral division of "haplogroup A00" from A0-P305 pushes back the estimation of the age of Y-chromosomal Adam, the most recent ancestor through direct paternal lines of all humans currently alive to 254,000 years ago.[8]


  1. "Mbo of Cameroon". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  2. "Mbo". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  3. Ekpe Inyang (2011). Environmental Problems in the Bakossi Landscape. African Books Collective. p. 2ff. ISBN 9956-717-29-0.
  4. A Willcox; D Nambu (2007). "Wildlife hunting practices and bushmeat dynamics of the Banyangi and Mbo people of Southwestern Cameroon". Biological Conservation. 134 (2): 251–261. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2006.08.016. ISSN 0006-3207. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  5. Robert Brain (1967). "THE BANGWA OF WEST CAMEROON" (PDF). University College London. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  6. "The Mbo People of Cameroon". Mbo Foundation. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  7. Mendez, Fernando L., (); et al. (2013). "An African American Paternal Lineage Adds an Extremely Ancient Root to the Human Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree" (PDF). The American Journal of Human Genetics. 92 (3): 454–9. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.02.002. PMC 3591855Freely accessible. PMID 23453668. "These 11 chromosomes were all found in a sample of 174 (~6.3%) Mbo individuals from western Cameroon (Figure 2). Seven of these Mbo chromosomes were available for further testing, and the genotypes were found to be identical at 37 of 39 SNPs known to be derived on the A00 chromosome (i.e., two of these genotyped SNPs were ancestral in the Mbo samples)".
  8. Currently estimated to 254 kya (95% confidence interval 192-307 kya). "A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture". Genome Research. 2015. doi:10.1101/gr.186684.114. PMID 25770088. "Applying ancient DNA calibration, we date the Y-chromosomal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) in Africa at 254 (95% CI 192–307) kya ..."
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