Gunmen yesterday fired on a bus carrying Togo’s football team to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, wounding players and reportedly killing the driver.

The attackers machine-gunned the vehicle after it crossed from the Republic of Congo into Angola’s oil-rich territory of Cabinda.

Rebels who have been fighting for the region’s independence later said they had carried out the attack.

We were machine-gunned, like dogs.All the players, everyone was crying, calling their mums, crying on the phone, saying their last words because they thought they'd be dead

The organisers of the tournament, which starts on Sunday, say it will go ahead.

The Angolan government called the incident an “act of terrorism”.

The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Flec), which said it carried out the attack, has fought for independence for several decades, but entered a ceasefire in 2006.

In a statement quoted by Portugal’s Lusa news agency, the group said: “This operation is only the start of a series of targeted actions that will continue in all the territory of Cabinda.”

Togo is due to play its first cup game in Cabinda on Monday. The Confederation of African Football confirmed that the tournament would go ahead as planned, despite the violent attack.

Angolan Sports Minister Goncalves Muandumba said security for the competition would be stepped up to guarantee “all the conditions necessary for the success, tranquillity and security of the people and their belongings”.

Nine people, including at least two players, were wounded during the shooting, reports said. Central defender Serge Akakpo was among those hurt and back-up goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale was also reportedly injured.

The team’s communications manager was among those seriously wounded in the shooting.

Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor was also on the bus but is unhurt. Speaking to the BBC, he described the incident as “one of the worst experiences of his life”.

“I’m still under shock,” Mr Adebayor said. “I was one of those who carried the injured players into the hospital – that is when I realised what was really going on. All the players, everyone was crying, calling their mums, crying on the phone, saying their last words because they thought they’d be dead.”

The bus was travelling to Cabinda from the squad’s training ground in the Republic of Congo when the shooting happened.

Football’s highest governing body, Fifa, said it was troubled by the incident.

“Fifa and its president, Joseph S Blatter, are deeply moved by today’s incidents which affected Togo’s national team, to whom they express their utmost sympathy,” the body said in a statement.

Competition officials said they had not known that the Togolose team had decided to drive directly to Cabinda.

They said they had expected the squad first to fly to the Angolan capital, Luanda, and from there to Cabinda.

Shot ‘like dogs’

The head of the Togolese football federation told AFP news agency that the driver had died.

Togo striker Thomas Dossevi told France’s RMC radio that several players were “in a bad state” after the attack.

“We were machine-gunned, like dogs,” he said. “At the border with Angola – machine-gunned! I don’t know why. I thought it was some rebels. We were under the seats of the bus for 20 minutes, trying to get away from the bullets.”

Togo’s first game in the tournament is due to be against Ghana on Monday.

But midfielder Alaixys Romao told RMC the team was likely to pull out of the 16-nation cup.

“No-one wants to play,” he said. “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.”

[ BBC NEWS]

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47 COMMENTS

  1. Africa, what are we coming to? Rebels in those parts of Africa don’t think much, how do you attack a bus with little ‘oil’ (used oil for that matter) when they are after crude oil in the ground.
    There’s no need of spoiling a good name soccer. Shame Africa, shame!

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  2. Sorry that this has happened, but why did you guys opted Angola to start with?my the soul the the driver RIP

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  3. Its a shame! I aslo blame the organisers who should have been in constant communication with all the teams advising them of the best routes. The Angolans know their country and they know that there are rebels in Cabinda so they should not pretend all is well. Zambia remains by far the most peaceful non Xenophobic and friendly country in the region. Its high time we developed stadia for FIFA and CAF to consider us. Its a shame than we have done nothing so far!

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  4. Sorry that this has happened, but why did you guys opt Angola to start with?May the soul of the driver RIP

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  5. the best solution is for the competition to be postponed,or played elsewhwere. I wont blame Togo if they pull out as they cant be in the right state of mind after having escaped death. Okay Africa is a dark continent for real

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  6. CAF is to blame for this mess. They operate on a shoe string budget, therefore teams also try to make do with the little resources thats why Togo decided to bus instead of Flying. Secondly CAF should have had information on hotspots so that teams and spectators avoid those. Unless serious damage control is done, the world cup will be in jeopardy

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  7. Who advised the Togolese National Team to use this route. I think the fault should be with the Angolan Govt. They let a team pass thru a war torn area without security. I think its only fair that Togo is given 3 points so that they dont play the first game as they recuperate. CAF should send a trauma consellor to assist the team

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  8. Africa. wow, and some chiefs are complaining about the road to see animals. Well actions speak louder than words. When the all world’s eyes are on you after the Nigerian boy failed terror attack on the US plane, what do you do next? Shoot at world class players like Adebayor and team. Sure 6 months before your Neighboring nation hosts World Cup you can not try to behave like people. Where is the sense of pride in ourselves us Africans? When will this black on black violence come to an end?

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  9. If I was Adebayor and Togo.. I would pack up and leave. no way I am risking my life to play a soccer game in Angola. ha.. Africa is embarrassing.

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  10. Thank God it was not the Zambian National team because that would have refreshened the Gabon Air Disaster. But all the same, I feel for the Togolese national team players. May the soul of the driver who was killed RIP. Abash the machine gunning of football players making their way to Angola.

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  11. but adebayor is on record for saying he is from africa so he understands what africa is about and he said he is not scared to play in africa. i wonder how he gets out of this

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  12. First of whole how do FIFA let african cup of nations be held in angola..thats a battle filed thousands of dead pipo everywhere guns with every street vendor ..i think we will hear more gun fights..and no one wants to go watch those games..everyone is scared to go to angola..thats a bad decission

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  13. Indeed this is such a huge embarassment to African soccer. So what would those rebels gain by attacking very innocent foreign players who have totally nothing to do with their internal conflicts!
    Whats reallyu wrong with these people kanshi? In all fairness, the tournament should just be postponed or Togo whould be allowed to withdraw and be compansated for it. who wants to play football after survving bullets anyway?

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  14. # 16 i think this it totally different. Guns atre something else especially once you come face to face with them

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  15. @ ciroc number 12 do not be like Sarah Palin who thinks Africa is one country. America might even be more embarassing like the inbred brother and sister marrying Darkotas states or the deep south and Utah! There are I.d.iots in every nation. For Togo to drive thousand or more miles is also wrong; fly your national team their government can afford it.Angola is strongly condemed do not get me wrong here just do not stereo type us all. Simply push the games to Botswana co Namibia even two at sunset stadium. These three countries would love to host our perennial entertainment lol.

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  16. Kalos2020 @ 11 do not dispair but chifala chaku Nigeria chigar mwe. I have always stated Islam is not for black people period. Arabs really do not like us generally, the were ruthless in slave trade and still kidnap and steal black African children in Sudan to as far as down south Zambia todate. Dare anyone oppose my comment. We started civilisation why can we not get back to our God Jehovah and rid ourselves of foreign mental menaces. Let’s as nations of this continent all condem the foolish little group of angolans and denounce that Nigerian chap, but pray for his soul. May the Lord Jesus bless you my Zambian and African Family. Football shall help their national image but they don’t see this.

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  17. They drove from one war-torn country to another war-torn country full of rebels and never expected to be shot upon let alone blasted by littered mines? They should’ve known way better than that!

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  18. As I read that they want independence.. I am convinced into believing that they can’t appreciate how good/bad anything arranged by gvt in their territory. This incidence automatically enters CAN history. The Togolese players will be haunted by this for the rest of their lives just like someone who escaped from the jaws of a lion.

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  19. Cant anyone see that this was one master plan by Angola to intimidate her rivals. now teams are shaken meanwhile the angolan team is holding steady. imagine what will happen if angola loses a match. lets wait and see

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  20. How do they hold matches in an area known to be infested with trigger-happy rebels? This is just sad and wrong! I hope the Zambian team is safe, we can’t afford to lose another national team!

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  21. I was equally shocked when I read about this attack in the German press (Bild Zeitung) this morning. I wonder why they had to use this route and not by air? It would have probably been safer. Lets hope our boys are safe…

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  22. ba nine chale did you have to specify ” the german press (bild zeeeee)” just say your piece without being all cheesy. ni bu chongololo ubo

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  23. “we were machined gunned like dogs”, where on earth are dogs machine gunned? i think the Togolese are in a state they need to go home.

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  24. Acording to BBC news the number of deaths from the Ambush has risen to 3. The 4 th person is in a critical condition and might not make it.

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  25. Very sad this happened. Why is it that all oil rich countries in Africa have conflicts? Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan all have oil and all have rebels fighting against their governments. Why in God’s name can’t we just enjoy and share riches in most African countries? I hope we never find oil in Zed

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  26. I feel for the family of the deceased and for all those that were injured.
    The Angolan government must sort out those responsible immediately for bringing the name of the country into disrepute.

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  27. I can imagine if oil is found in western province…..kuti ya kosa kula iponona. You know that Western province has always wanted to be a country separative from zed. No oil explorations in Zambia from now onwards. Fyabu puba kanshi fi oile

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  28. Ku Africa bwafya…why ve the cup in Angola in the first place…we would hosted the cup in Zambia, we world stadia like Kalukungu, Matero, Twesheko stidia to mention but 3.
    Lets reward Togo by allowing them play at the world cup…

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  29. good result for Zambia in that friendly..
    but the fact is.. this tournament is a disgrace. Who shoots football players? My heart cries for Togo

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  30. ZNBC emulate your friends “The SABC had sent a team of negotiators to France in a bid to find permission from SportFive – the rights agent for the Confederation of African Football – to broadcast the tournament.” Be strong Togo. The African Curse we bring upon ourselves. Grow up Congo and your rebels.

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  31. It is interesting to get a sense of what people are saying about the shooting of the Togolese national team. What is however, disturbing now is their failure to make a decision whether they will play or not.
    I have been reading sports news on BBC website and also watching TV where I understand the Togolese government has ordered the team to go back home on grounds that they are in shock and that it is in the interest of the families of the deceased. On the other hand, some of the players are saying they should stay in Angola to play in honor of their fallen heroes- which in my view makes a lot of sense. So far, many soccer fans worldwide are still in the dark regarding the final decision though everything is pointing out to the fact that Togo will go home. continued…….

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  32. ……but if they withdraw, they will have demonstrated a sign of cowardice to their critics like me. It is also clear that Togo was just a mare participate and their pull out will make them honorable to their funds back home rather been booted in the first round as they were definitely going to or mostly they will if they dare to stay in the tournament….prove me wrong!!

    We all know that Togo is just a below average team in Africa. They qualified to the world cup after making scrappy and controversial victories during the qualifications. I recall, how Togo treated the Zambian national team in Lome. The Chipolopolo boys received the waste reception in history of international soccer and they were rumours they were charmed with some powder. Have you forgotten?……contd..

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  33. ……..what they Togo did to the Chipolopolo boys in Lome was an Act of Terrorism in a broader context. So they are merely reaping what they have been sawing for a long time!

    They should also not assume that they were targeted….NO. They did not just consider security concerns which is surprising.You can never take a jolly ride in the forest of Congo and Cabinda without being hounded or shot at.

    As far as security is concerned, all teams including Angolan national team are at risk . However, the Angolan government is doing its best to ensure that security is tightened up and I want to urge the rebels to behave. Why has Obama been quite?

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  34. Somebody shade more light on this. Are you telling me that Togo National Team traveled by bus to Angola or they were camped in DRC? Why didn`t the sports administration in particular CAF, make necessary logistics for all the teams taking part in CAN. FIFA, CAF and Angolan gvt should be help liable for that gruesome attack. Compensation has to be made and its just the right thing that the Tournament is canceled or moved to a peaceful location like Zambia.

    I now understand why Africa despite having enough resources, the natives are poor. Unless that behavior is dealt with, Africa will remain impoverished. I hope South Africa will learn from this and improve on security for the safety of the funs and players.

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  35. My two ngwee’s worth is that maybe some govt official (maybe the sports ministers) in Togo apportioned some of the money to themselves and it was decided to send the players by road as it was cheaper…. Come on, would you send your national team (treasures) by bus a couple of days before the tournament through a war ravaged country (DRC)? Suddenly, after the tragedy a plane was sent for them. Surely, if they had been in sent to Angola in said plane in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened…..
    I also agree about Zambian infrastructure needing to be developed to enable us to be considered for these things.:-?

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