DR Congo unity government formed by President Kabila

image copyrightAP
image captionJoseph Kabila came to power in 2001 following the assassination of his father President Laurent Kabila

The president of Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, has announced the formation of a new government which includes several opposition members.

A senior member of opposition party the Movement for the Liberation of Congo has been named a vice prime minister.

Several other former opponents have also been given posts.

The unity government comes amid speculation that Mr Kabila, in power since 2001, may try to change the constitution to run for a third term.

image copyrightAFP
image captionThere have been some protests against changing the constitution

Analysts say the inclusion of opposition members and former opponents in his latest administration may be an attempt to broaden his support and divide an already weakened opposition.

They say this may be in preparation for constitutional changes or a delay to elections due in 2016.

Evariste Boshab, leader of the governing People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy and an outspoken advocate of constitutional change, has also been named a vice prime minister.

'Assassination plot'

The new government is made up of 47 ministers and vice ministers, replacing the previous 36-strong administration.

Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo, who has headed the outgoing government since April 2012, retains his post.

image copyrightAFP
image captionMore than 250 people have been killed in attacks near Beni since October

Mr Kabila promised to form a unity government last year after a national dialogue with opposition and civil society groups.

Donors and investors say the delay has fostered uncertainty and stalled reform in the vast country which is rich in minerals, Reuters news agency reports.

Last month, 15 men accused of plotting to assassinate Mr Kabila were acquitted by a South African court.

Prosecutors dropped the case because of a lack of evidence against the men, all Congolese nationals.

Five more suspects are still facing trial.

They include the plot's alleged ringleader, Etienne Kabila, who says he is the son of former President Laurent Kabila, who was killed in 2001, and that Joseph Kabila is not the former leader's real son.

Meanwhile insecurity continues in the east of the country where more than 30 people were killed in attacks on Saturday.

The raids took place in villages near the town of Beni, where more than 250 people have died since October.

A journalist in the region told the BBC the dead included women and children who had been dragged from their houses and killed with machetes.

She said it was not clear who carried out the attacks. The Congolese authorities have blamed a Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

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