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Togo players shot en route to the African Nations Cup


8 January 2010

Terrorist gunmen in Angola – host nation for the 2010 Africa Nations Cup, which starts on Sunday – today shot and wounded members of Togo’s team and their support staff, two of them “seriously”, as they travelled by coach through the host country. The central defender Serge Akakpo, 22, who plays in Romania with FA Vaslui, was hit by two bullets and was described as having “lost a lot of blood”. His club say he is out of danger after hospital treatment.

Two BBC reports can be seen here and here, and they include Thomas Dossevi of Nantes saying: “We were machine-gunned like dogs. [The gunmen] were armed to the teeth … We spent 20 minutes underneath the seats of the bus.”

As of this evening, Friday, the main news item on the official tournament website is about team safety insurance, but is nothing to do with the incident, which isn’t yet mentioned at all. The item is about the Angola players’ health cover.

A local Portuguese-language website, ibinda, reports that incident happened at 2.30pm local time and the injured, between seven and nine in number, were taken to a military hospital. The driver of the bus carrying the team was reportedly killed. The same report says that Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor, a Togo international who was aboard the bus that was attacked, was weeping in terror.

At the time of writing (8.40pm Angolan time, Friday), the Jornal de Angola is currently still leading with the story about the Angolan FA’s health insurance deal with the National Insurance Company of Angola.

Manchester City have released a statement relating to Adebayor, which says: “Manchester City can confirm that striker Emmanuel Adebayor is uninjured after this afternoon’s attack on the Togo team bus in Angola. Club officials have spoken with Adebayor and, though shaken by the terrible events, he is unharmed. The club would like to send its condolences to the family of the driver and sends best wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured. We are currently in talks with the Football Association over what may happen next.”

Neither the continental federation for African football (CAF) nor football’s world governing body, Fifa, have yet  confirmed any details of what happened or how it may affect the tournament. Premier League clubs are monitoring the situation and may wish to bring players back to England if their safety cannot be guaranteed.

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