The political leader of the M23 rebels says his group will not leave the strategic eastern Congo city of Goma and is ready to fight the Congolese army, defying a deadline imposed by a regional group of nations. Speaking in Goma today, M23 president Jean-Marie Runiga said the rebels won't leave the city of 1 million. The deadline imposed by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region for the rebels to depart was midnight yesterday.
Runiga told a press conference the M23 is prepared to fight to maintain control of Goma, which the rebels seized a week ago. The M23 was created seven months ago by former rebels who joined and then defected from the Congo army. The group is allegedly supported by Rwanda and Uganda. Fears of an all-out war are growing.