One dead, 9 hurt in gun attack on Togo soccer team

Fri Jan 8, 2010 6:42pm EST
 
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By Henrique Almeida

LUANDA (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Togo's national football squad to the top African tournament in Angola on Friday, killing the driver and wounding nine others, including two players, a Togo team official said.

The bus had just entered the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, where separatists have waged a three-decade long war, when it came under heavy gunfire for several minutes, he said. An Angolan minister called the attack an "act of terrorism."

Many of the players at the tournament are with clubs at the top level of European football including Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o of Inter Milan, Chelsea's Ivory Coast striker Dider Drogba and Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor who was on the bus but escaped unharmed.

The separatist group the Front for the Liberation of Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) claimed responsibility for the attack, which happened two days before the start of the 2010 African Nations Cup, Africa's most-followed sporting event.

"This operation is just the start of a series of planned actions that will continue to take place in the whole territory of Cabinda," said the statement seen by Reuters and signed by FLEC's secretary general Rodrigues Mingas.

The organizers, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), said the tournament would still go ahead despite the attack.

"Our first priority is the safety of the players but the tournament will go ahead," CAF spokesman Suleimanu Habubu said in Luanda.

CAF said senior officials would fly to the area on Saturday.   Continued...