The Congolese army has announced a general mobilisation of youth to fight the rebels from the March 23rd Movement, or M23, who are gaining ground in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It follows calls by DRC president Félix Tshisekedi for youth militant groups.
At a news conference, DRC army spokesman, Major General Sylvain Ekenge, said: "The nation is in danger and it needs its worthy sons and daughters to serve it under the flag, to defend the integrity of the territory.
"The armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are already recruiting a large number of young people to serve under the flag. As I speak, there are more than 2000 of them, only in Goma."
M23 rebels have captured swathes of new territory in recent weeks and government spokesperson, Patrick Muyaya, said: "Good neighbourliness is not always the message that others pick up, so we must choose deterrence, which is to have a strong army.
"Why not have an army of 500,000 or even one million Congolese?"
The M23 advances have displaced an estimated 183,000 people in North Kivu alone since October 20 and destabilised relations in central Africa.
Foreign ministers of the DRC and Rwanda agreed on Saturday to boost efforts to de-escalate tensions and resolve their political crisis with the DRC accusing its smaller neighbour of backing a rebel militia.