Togo footballers ambushed in Angola

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Friday, January 8, 2010

A bus carrying the football team of the African country of Togo was ambushed by gunmen earlier today, wounding at least two players, as it crossed the border into Angola. Some reports suggested that the driver was killed.

The attackers reportedly opened fire on the bus with machine guns as it was travelling though Cabinda. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, a separatist group, soon claimed responsibility for the ambush.

Central defender Serge Akakpo and the back-up goalkeeper, Obilale Kossi, was hurt as well, according to Gabriel Ameyi, the Togo Football Federation vice-president.

"We had just crossed the border [...] everything was fine. Then there was a powerful burst of gunfire. Everyone dived under the seats and the police fired back. It felt like war had broken out. It's shocking," said Thomas Dossevi, a Togo striker, to the RMC radio station.

The incident occurs two days before the start of the largest football competition in Africa, the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. The contest's organisers said that Togo's team will still participate in the event despite the ambush; however, midfielder Alaixys Romao commented that his team might have to withdraw.

"No-one wants to play. We're not capable of it. We're thinking first of all about the health of our injured because there was a lot of blood on the ground," he said to RMC radio.

"If we are still not sure [about security] then we will be leaving," captain Emmanuel Adebayor, of Manchester City, commented. "It's a football game, it's one of the biggest tournaments in Africa and a lot of people would love to be in our position but I don't think anybody would be prepared to give their life," he said to BBC Afrique.

"So I will talk with the team and we will discuss between us and take a group decision that we think is good for our careers, good for our lives and good for our families because at the end of the day it is only football."


Sources

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