The Congolese army on Wednesday stepped up an offensive against M23 rebels in the country’s volatile east, shelling positions north of the flashpoint city of Goma. Backed by tanks, mortars and heavy machine guns mounted on gun carriages, the regular soldiers pounded M23 positions on the hills overlooking Kanyarucinya and Kibati in the restive east of the country. As on Tuesday, three army helicopters also targeted rebel positions, an AFP photographer said. Exchanges of automatic weapons fire grew heavier in the afternoon, suggesting army soldiers were unleashing a ground offensive. The deadliest clashes in months in the mineral-rich region broke out on Sunday, with at least 130 people killed including 10 soldiers, according to a toll given by the DR Congo army on Monday. On Wednesday the rebels offered little resistance, claiming that the army and the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo were setting a “trap” for them. However according to unconfirmed reports, the rebels are holding back because of supply difficulties. — AFP