Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:40 am (KSA) 08:40 am (GMT)

Togo pulls out of Africa cup due to Angola attack

Pascal Bodjona, cabinet chief of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe in Lome (File)
Pascal Bodjona, cabinet chief of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe in Lome (File)

Togo's national soccer team is pulling out of the African Nations Cup competition after an attack on the team bus which killed three people, the country's territorial administration minister said on Saturday.

"The Togolese government has decided to call back the team. We could not continue the African Nations Cup in this dramatic situation," Pascal Bodjona said in a statement released in the capital Lome.

 The Togolese government has decided to call back the team. We could not continue the African Nations Cup in this dramatic situation 
Pascal Bodjona, Togo\'s territorial administration minister

"This was necessary because our players are in a state of shock and because we do not think the security which should have been placed around our players is giving the necessary guarantees," he added.

Three people were killed in Friday's attack on Togo's team buses in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, the assistant coach and the squad spokesman, an official of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said Saturday.

The official, speaking from Cabinda, said that earlier reports that one of the bus drivers had been killed when the two vehicles were machine-gunned were incorrect.

"Communications chief Stanislas Ocloo and assistant coach Abalo Amnalete died at four o'clock this morning," the CAF's press official for Togo, Kodjo Samlan, said after arriving in Cabinda with federation colleagues.

Nine players and officials of the squad were reported wounded Friday when the buses came under fire as they crossed into Cabinda from the Congo Republic to play in the African Nations Cup.

The attack was claimed by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), which has been fighting for decades for the independence of the oil-rich territory cut off from the rest of Angola by Democratic Republic of Congo.

FLEC said the team's military escorts were the intended target, adding that "This operation is only the start of a series of targeted actions that will continue in all the territory of Cabinda."

Angola's prime minister called the deadly attack an "isolated act" as he guaranteed the security of teams at the African Nations Cup, his office said.

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