CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has appointed members of the Muslim Brotherhood as provincial governors, moves seen as part of a drive to purge loyalists of ousted Hosni Mubarak from state bodies and strengthen support for the new Islamist leader.

The president's office announced on Tuesday that it had picked 10 new governors, and said all those appointed were chosen on merit rather than party affiliation.

At least three of the new names are known members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group banned under Mubarak. They took posts in Minya, Kafr el-Sheikh and Manufiya. One newspaper said up to three others had loose links to the Islamist group.

Three army generals were appointed governors in Suez, Red Sea and North Sinai, near sensitive border areas. The army launched a campaign against militants in Sinai after Islamists killed 16 Egyptian border police near the border with Israel in August.

Egypt has 27 governorates and under Mubarak top security officials held most of the posts. In some cases they were viewed as sinecures or rewards for service, but they ensured that loyalists were in control of the country.

Analysts have been watching for Mursi, who was sworn in on June 30 and formally resigned from the Brotherhood on taking office, to push more of his supporters and sympathizers into the bureaucracy to help drive through his policies.

"The governors were chosen on the basis of efficiency, the ability to connect with the people, good reputation and not party affiliation," presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said in a statement.

(Writing by Marwa Awad; editing by Tim Pearce)