Globally, this group totals 172,000 in 3 countries. (Peoplegroups.org, 2023).
For centuries they dominated the Adawama region, battling perioducally against Fulbe slave raiders.
Their primary language is Mbum. Mbum is an Adamawa language of Cameroon. Speakers are mostly bilingual in Fulfulde. It is also known as Buna, Mboum, Mboumtiba, and Wuna.
The Mbum are subsistence agriculturalists, specialized in the slash-and-burn cultivation of cereals, especially sorghums and millets. They fish and raise chickens and dwarf goats.
They have had a long and close relationship with the neighboring Dii people in the eastern parts of Adamawa Province to the extent that it is frequently difficult to make any distinction between the two. Their relationship with the Fulani, who entered the region in the early-19th century, is more complex. The Fulani are often perceived as a ruling class; nevertheless, the Mbum have historically participated actively in the states set up by the Fulani.
The most visible aesthetic features of the Mboum are traditional hairstyles and nose piercings of the older generations. Old Mboum villages also show interesting vernacular architecture (round adobe conical huts with pointed thatched roofs). Music and dances are part of daily life culture in Mbum society. In the village of Pao, 142 kms south of Moundou, near the Cameroon border, beautiful head masks are still worn during rites of passage. They are made of fibres, coloured with red paint. They remind of Mali’s Dogon Kanaga elongated masks,
African traditional religion is deeply rooted in Mboum’s ethnic identity and conversion essentially equates to cultural assimilation. Missionary activity and Islamization have been active in the region after Chad’s Independence (1960),