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Rebels take Goma, vow 'liberation' of DR Congo (PHOTOS)
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

A rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has rejected calls from regional leaders to withdraw from the provincial capital Goma after seizing control of the city this week.

The M23 rebels, believed to be backed by Rwanda, have threatened to push onward to Bukavu, a strategic town further east, as well as to the capital Kinshasa.

Read the latest dispatch from GlobalPost's Tristan McConnell: Congo rebellion threatens regional war 

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Kadogo Ombeni, 27, stands near the Rwandan border with Congo with a suitcase on his head after fleeing his home in the Bujovu Kabutembo district of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 20, 2012. Kadogo Ombeni said that government troops told residents of the area to "evacuate" their homes last night, as the risk of an assault between M23 rebels and the army grew. "If the authorities allow me to cross the border, I will. I don't have anywhere else to take refuge" he said.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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A dead Congolese army soldier is surrounded by civilian onlookers as he lies on the roadside in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 20, 2012. M23 rebels fought gun battles with government soldiers this morning, before gaining control of many parts in the provincial capital.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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M23 rebels stand outside a building in the city of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 20, 2012. Rebels in the DRC claimed control of the main town of Goma and its airport, in the mineral-rich east, as President Joseph Kabila urged people to defend the country's sovereignty.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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M23 rebels celebrate in the streets of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 20, 2012. Rebels in the DRC claimed control of the main town of Goma and its airport, in the mineral-rich east, as President Joseph Kabila urged people to defend the country's sovereignty.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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A United Nations helicopter flies over the Lake Kivu as M23 rebels walk along the shore in the city of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 20, 2012. Rebels in the DRC claimed control of the main town of Goma and its airport, in the mineral-rich east, as President Joseph Kabila urged people to defend the country's sovereignty.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Congolese refugees are pictured as they wait in Gisenyi, Rwanda to go back to Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 21, 2012. M23 Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 20, 2012 seized the key eastern city of Goma from Congolese army soldiers. The M23, formed by former members of an ethnic Tutsi rebel group, mutinied in April 2012 after the failure of a 2009 peace deal that integrated them into the regular army. The UN Security Council has unanimously backed a resolution calling for sanctions against two leaders of the M23 rebels. UN experts have said M23 is backed by Rwanda.

(STEPHANIE AGLIETTI - AFP/Getty Images)
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Spokesman of the M23 rebel group Lieutenant-Colonel Vianney Kazarama waves at a crowd as he arrives at the Volcanoes Stadium in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on November 21, 2012. Lt.-Col. Kazarama addressed the population of Goma today in an attempt to calm and reassure the civilians following the fall of Goma to M23 rebels yesterday.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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An M23 rebel stands in the Volcanoes Stadium in the restive eastern city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 21, 2012. M23 rebels called on the population of Goma to come to the stadium today in an attempt to calm and reassure civilians following the fall of the city yesterday by the rebel group.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Residents of Goma gather at the Volcanoes Stadium in Goma on November 21, 2012. M23 rebels called on the population of Goma to come to the stadium today in an attempt to calm and reassure civilians following the fall of the city yesterday by the rebel group.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Spokesman of the M23 rebel group Lieutenant-Colonel Vianney Kazarama addresses a crowd at the Volcanoes Stadium in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on November 21, 2012. Lt.-Col. Kazarama addressed the population of Goma today in an attempt to calm and reassure the civilians following the fall of Goma to M23 rebels yesterday.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Surrendered police officers hand-in their weapons at the Volcanoes Stadium in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on November 21, 2012. M23 rebels--who took the city yesterday--called on any remaining policemen and army soldiers to assemble at the stadium this morning to officially surrender and hand-in their weapons.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Residents of Goma react as they listen to M23 rebel group spokesman at the Volcanoes Stadium in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on Nov. 21, 2012. Lt.-Col. Kazarama addressed the population of Goma in an attempt to calm and reassure the civilians following the fall of the city to M23 rebels this week.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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A resident of Goma stands at the Volcanoes Stadium in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on November 21, 2012. M23 rebels spokesman Lt.-Col. Kazarama addressed the population of Goma today in an attempt to calm and reassure the civilians following the fall of Goma to M23 rebels yesterday.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Lokuli Loleko Felicien, 24, (R) reacts to finding the body of his father in the Ndosho district of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 21, 2012. Lokuli's father, a government military doctor, was killed in fighting yesterday between the government army and M23 rebels as they took the provincial capital. Lokuli and his two brothers came across his father's body by chance in the western district of Goma, having searched in the morgue and a hospital yesterday evening. The lightning seizure by rebels of Democratic Republic of Congo's city of Goma is a blow for President Joseph Kabila, but how far fighters will press forward their advantage is not clear, analysts say.

(PHIL MOORE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Congolese police officer is seen through a hole on the wall of a cell at Muzenze prison on November 21, 2012 in Goma. Almost all inmates of Goma's main prison managed to break out after prison warders abandoned their positions to flee from advancing M23 rebels two days ago. The M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which says it now controls all of Goma and nearby crossing points on the border with Rwanda vowed today it would not stop at Goma, after seizing the key eastern city this week. A spokesman for the M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo called Wednesday for President Joseph Kabila to step down, saying he was not the legitimate winner of elections last year.

(TONY KARUMBA - AFP/Getty Images)
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