BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) – Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso named former finance minister Clement Mouamba as prime minister, bringing a one-time opposition leader into the government, state television said on Saturday.
The appointment comes a month after Sassou Nguesso was elected to a five-year term that extends his long rule over the oil producing country. Sassou Nguesso led Congo between 1979 and 1992 and returned to power after a civil war in 1997.
Mouamba was a senior member of the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS) but was expelled from the opposition party for participating in consultations that preceded a referendum last October on changing the constitution to allow Sassou Nguesso to serve a third term.
“I have no complex about coming to greet the head of state, the head of the village. Whatever the nature of the problems, I take responsibility for what I have done,” he said at the time.
The central African country has been gripped by political violence since the election. Human rights group Amnesty International said on Monday the government bombed residential areas in the country’s south, reportedly killing at least 30 people.
There was no immediate comment from the government, which has in the past denied targeting civilians.