The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has rejected M23 rebel calls for truce talks in the east of the country.
Faced with a growing refugee crisis as most of the city of Goma’s million-strong population seeks to escape, the government is bracing itself for a full-scale rebel assault of the regional capital.
The government accuses M23 of being in the pay and control of neighbouring Rwanda. They in turn accuse the government of failing to integrate their forces into the national army, a breaking of the terms to a 2009 peace deal.
“Our main objective was just to arrive here and show the main aim of our cause. We have no intention of going into Goma, but if the Congolese army attacks us, we will entre the city,” said rebel Colonel Innocent Kayina.
The UN supports the government claim that M23 is a Rwandan creation, while Kigali asserts the rebels are just seeking to control valuable mineral rights. The UN has thousands of troops in Goma, and has been providing helicopter strikes to support government troops.