Nov 27, 2012 7:14 AM by AP/CS
GOMA, Congo (AP) - 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 Tuesday, 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 Monday.
Runiga told a press conference the M23 is prepared to fight the Congo army 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.