Congo rebels claim control of Goma, firing ceases

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:20am EST

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo Nov 20 (Reuters) - Congo rebels have taken control of the eastern city of Goma after days of clashes with U.N.-backed Congolese soldiers, a spokesman for the M23 rebel group said on Tuesday.

A Reuters witness saw scores of heavily armed rebels walking through the city unchallenged as United Nations peacekeepers watched and small groups of residents greeted them.

"The town of Goma fell at 11:33 local time, despite the attack helicopters, despite the heavy weapons, the FARDC (Congo army) has let the town fall into our hands," M23 spokesman Colonel Vianney Kazarama said by telephone.