President Biya's Youth (PRESBY) (Cameroon)

Country: Cameroon
Details of Formation: PRESBY was founded in 1996 by Philomon Ntyam Ntyam as the successor of the ‘Committee for Self-Defence’ that had been operating at the University of Yaoundé. The group was created by the government as an attempt to transform a local, most exclusively Beti militia into a nationwide militia who is supposed to fight opponents of the regime.
Details of Termination: There is no information of the group being terminated. The last mention of activity was reported in 2003.
Purpose: Since its foundation, PRESBY has been used by the Francophone-dominated state to counteract the activities of Anglophone movements and parties such as the SDF, the SCNC and particularly the SCYL. The group has been set up to fight opponents of the regime and is closely connected to the ruling party RDPC [CPDM Cameroon People's Democratic Movement] (Rassemblement democratique du peuple camerounais). It regularly engaged in violent disruption of opposition meetings, rallies or demonstrations and terrorised individual members. The group has been openly requested by the ruling party to crackdown on Anglophone secessionists.
Organisation: Leadership positions are highly contested as was demonstrated by the power struggles in 2000 and 2003. PRESBY’s founder and president is Philomon Ntyam Ntyam who belongs to the Beti ethnic group. Other members of this group occupy three-quarters of the seats in PRESBY’s National Bureau. The group enjoys widespread support and patronage from the ruling party’s elite.
Weapons and Training: The group is armed and receives active and open support from the security forces.
Size: In 2001, it was estimated that PRESBY comprised 120,000 members and 7,900 officials.
Reason for Membership: PRESBY members belonged to the majority Beti ethnic group and 75% of the militia’s leaders furthermore belong to the Bulu tribal subgroup to which President Biya belongs.
Treatment of Civilians: no information
Other Information: --
References: Information was taken from news sources listed on the PGMD