The trial of more than 80 suspects in the assassination last year of Democratic Republic of Congo President Laurent Kabila has begun in Kinshasa, the capital.

A top aide to the slain president, Colonel Eddy Kapend, is the main suspect in what the government calls an attempt by foreign-backed rebels to overthrow the government.

President Kabila was shot by a bodyguard in Kinshasa in January, 2001. His death came three-and-a-half years after he overthrew Congo's longtime dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko.

His son Joseph replaced him as head of state and has made efforts to stop fighting with rebels backed by the neighboring countries of Uganda and Rwanda. Peace efforts have moved in fits and starts since a U.N.-brokered cease-fire went into effect last year.