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DR Congo appoints first woman prime minister

PRESIDENT Felix Tshisekedi appointed the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first female prime minister on Monday.

The choice of Judith Suminwa Tuluka fulfilled a campaign promise by Mr Tshisekedi and marked an important step towards the formation of a new government following his re-election late last year.

The former planning minister will step into the role at a time of worsening violence in the country’s mineral-rich east, which borders Rwanda. 

The long-running conflict has displaced more than seven million people, according to the United Nations, making it one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Referring to the conflict, which involves many armed groups — including some believed to be backed by the Rwandan military — the new prime minister said: “My thoughts go out to the east and to all corners of the country, which today are facing conflicts with enemies who are sometimes hidden.”

The country’s east has long been overrun by more than 120 armed groups, which have carried out mass killings as they vie for a share of the region’s gold and other resources.

Both regional and UN peacekeepers have been told to leave the country after the government accused them of failing to resolve the conflict.

Despite Ms Tuluka’s appointment, it could still be months before a new government takes office, as the process requires intensive negotiations with the many political parties.

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