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From a prisoner to a Cabinet Minister

The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, has appointed a former militia leader, once convicted of war crimes, as his new defence minister.

Jean Pierre Bemba, a former Congolese vice-president, was cleared on appeal by the International Criminal Court in 2018.

He was convicted of failing to prevent his militia from committing crimes.

His appointment comes as the Congolese army battles the M23 rebels in the east of the country. Rwanda is accused of backing the M23 rebels but denies it.

Mr Tshisekedi also appointed his former chief of staff, Vital Kamerhe, as minister of economy. Mr Kamerhe was convicted of embezzlement but freed on appeal last year.

The changes comes as the country is due to go to the polls in December in which Mr Tshisekedi is expected to run for re-election.

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