CAR unveils new government

Bangui - The prime minister of the Central African Republic unveiled his new government on Friday, a broad coalition which includes representatives from rival armed groups.

Mahamat Kamoun, who was appointed earlier this month, has been tasked with bringing rebel groups back into the mainstream to try to end the ethnic and religious violence gripping the country.

According to an official decree read on national radio, the new cabinet will be made up of 27 ministers and two deputies.

While some members were part of the old government, the group also includes three representatives from the mainly Muslim Seleka group, and one from the majority-Christian "anti-balaka" militias.

The UN peacekeeping chief for the country, Babacar Gaye, had pressed for a new government to lead the country out of strife and elections.

The previous government resigned after the signing of a ceasefire pact in July.

Months of fighting in the poor and deeply unstable country has left thousands of people dead and forced around a million from their homes.

France and African Union countries deployed troops last December, nine months after the Seleka alliance ousted president Francois Bozize and placed one of their leaders, Michel Djotodia, in power.

Djotodia stepped down in January under international pressure for failing to halt widespread atrocities against civilians by rogue rebels, which also led to the emergence of "anti-balaka" (anti-machete) vigilante forces in Christian majority communities, bent on vengeance against Muslims.