GUNMEN opened fire on a bus carrying the Togo football team to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola yesterday, wounding at least nine people, a Togolese football official said.

Togolese football federation vice president Gabriel Ameyi said reserve goalkeeper Obilale Kossi and central defender Serge Akakpo were among those hurt.

The team’s top player, Emmanuel Adebayor, was unharmed, according to his club Manchester City.

„They should not have travelled by road,” Ameyi said in Lome, Togo. „They should have flown to Angola.”

The 16-team African championship starts tomorrow in Angola, with Togo due to play its opening match on Monday against Ghana in Cabinda. The team had just crossed the border into Angola when the bus came under fire.

„We were machine-gunned like dogs,” said Togo player Thomas Dossevi, who plays for French club Nantes. „They were armed to the teeth. We spent 20 minutes underneath the seats of the bus.”

Dossevi said the players were inclined to pull out of the tournament.

„We don’t want to play this African Cup of Nations,” he said. „We’re thinking about our teammates – to be hit by bullets when you’ve come to play football is disgusting.”

Romanian side FC Vaslui confirmed their defender Serge Akakpo, who joined the club from French side Auxerre last year, was shot and badly injured.

The club said the 22-year-old was now out of danger.

A statement on the club’s website, www.vasluifc.ro, read: „Badly injured in an ambush in Angola, Serge Akakpo is now out of danger. Akakpo was struck by two bullets in the attack and has lost much blood. His condition was stabilised by doctors. FC Vaslui have been in touch with relatives who confirmed he has undergone surgery, which went very well.”

The injured Togolese were taken to a hospital in Cabinda, Angola’s main oil-producing region that has been plagued by unrest. Human rights groups have accused the military of atrocities and claim government officials have embezzled millions of dollars in oil revenue. The government denied the charges.

Angola has been struggling to climb back from decades of violence, and its government was banking on the tournament as a chance to show the world it was on the way to recovery. A building boom fuelled by oil wealth has included new stadiums in Cabinda and three other cities for the tournament.

An anti-colonial war had begun in the 1960s, and a civil war broke out after independence. The fighting ended in 2002.

Read the article on Irish Examiner

Nine injured as gunmen attack Togo football team

GUNMEN opened fire on a bus carrying the Togo football team to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola yesterday, wounding at least nine people, a Togolese football official said.

Togolese football federation vice president Gabriel Ameyi said reserve goalkeeper Obilale Kossi and central defender Serge Akakpo were among those hurt.

The team’s top player, Emmanuel Adebayor, was unharmed, according to his club Manchester City.

„They should not have travelled by road,” Ameyi said in Lome, Togo. „They should have flown to Angola.”

The 16-team African championship starts tomorrow in Angola, with Togo due to play its opening match on Monday against Ghana in Cabinda. The team had just crossed the border into Angola when the bus came under fire.

„We were machine-gunned like dogs,” said Togo player Thomas Dossevi, who plays for French club Nantes. „They were armed to the teeth. We spent 20 minutes underneath the seats of the bus.”

Dossevi said the players were inclined to pull out of the tournament.

„We don’t want to play this African Cup of Nations,” he said. „We’re thinking about our teammates – to be hit by bullets when you’ve come to play football is disgusting.”

Romanian side FC Vaslui confirmed their defender Serge Akakpo, who joined the club from French side Auxerre last year, was shot and badly injured.

The club said the 22-year-old was now out of danger.

A statement on the club’s website, www.vasluifc.ro, read: „Badly injured in an ambush in Angola, Serge Akakpo is now out of danger. Akakpo was struck by two bullets in the attack and has lost much blood. His condition was stabilised by doctors. FC Vaslui have been in touch with relatives who confirmed he has undergone surgery, which went very well.”

The injured Togolese were taken to a hospital in Cabinda, Angola’s main oil-producing region that has been plagued by unrest. Human rights groups have accused the military of atrocities and claim government officials have embezzled millions of dollars in oil revenue. The government denied the charges.

Angola has been struggling to climb back from decades of violence, and its government was banking on the tournament as a chance to show the world it was on the way to recovery. A building boom fuelled by oil wealth has included new stadiums in Cabinda and three other cities for the tournament.

An anti-colonial war had begun in the 1960s, and a civil war broke out after independence. The fighting ended in 2002.

Read the article on Irish Examiner

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