DR Congo rejects M23 rebels' ultimatum to leave Goma
[BBC] The Democratic Republic of the Congo
...formerly the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Zaire, and who knows what else, not to be confused with the Brazzaville Congo or
Republic of Congo, which is much smaller and much more (for Africa) stable. DRC gave the world Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Mobutu, followed by years of tedious civil war. Its principle industry seems to be the production of corpses. With a population of about 74 million it has lots of raw material...
's government has rejected an ultimatum by rebels to start talks, as fighting continues near the city of Goma.
Rwanda, which denies arming the rebels, has accused Congolese forces of deliberately firing into its territory.
The M23 rebels have advanced to within a few kilometres of Goma, the main city in eastern DR Congo, causing tens of thousands of residents to flee.
The rebels have given government troops 24 hours to withdraw from Goma.
The UN Security Council has condemned the rebel advance - the most serious since July in the resource-rich region.The UN is moving non-essential staff out of Goma as the rebels advance.
The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse reports from Goma that the city is very tense. Soldiers have been taking up positions, while there has been firing at a roundabout in the city centre, he says.
One resident told the BBC they felt "abandoned" by UN peacekeepers.
"At least yesterday [Sunday], we could see UN helicopters bombing, fighting. But nothing today [Monday]," he said. "We can hear shooting at the airport. We are fleeing not knowing where to go."
Rwandan General Joseph Nzabamwita told the AFP news agency that DR Congo had used T55 tanks and mortar bombs to fire at the area around the airport in the border town of Gisenyi.
"Rwanda is exercising restraint as of now... We are concentrating on evacuating the affected population as we continue to assess the situation," he said.
The Rwandan authorities said they had not responded to the fire, although local sources in Goma reported at least two kabooms from ordnance apparently coming from the direction of Gisenyi, on the Rwandan side of the border, our correspondent says.
Posted by: Fred 2012-11-20