Togo quit Africa Cup of Nations

Government official says team recalled due to Angola attack, which killed three.

    Emmanuel Adebayor, Togo's captain, said many of the players wanted to leave  [Reuters]

    Emmanuel Adebayor, the Togo team captain, told BBC radio earlier on Saturday that a "lot of players want to leave".

    "They have seen one of their team-mates have a bullet in his body, who is crying, who is losing consciousness and everything," he said.

    "I don't think they will be ready to give their life."

    Adebayor had himself made the decision to quit the tournament earlier in the day, and was on his way home, his club, Manchester City, said.

    in depth

      Profile: Cabinda separatists

    The bus carrying the team came under gun attack on Friday, despite reportedly being escorted by two police vans.

    The Angolan bus driver was killed instantly. The team's assistant coach and spokesman later died of their wounds.

    The other injured members of the team were evacuated to South Africa for treatment.

    Authorities in Angola sought to move quickly to ensure everything possible was being done to safeguard the tournament, which opens on Sunday.

    "We are going to further reinforce all the mechanisms and continue to guarantee security and create all the conditions which guarantee the success, and organisation and safety of people as planned," Goncalves Muandumba, Angola's minister for youth and sport, said.

    Assurances sought

    Al Jazeera's Andy Richardson, reporting from the Angolan capital, Luanda, said that he expected that players from most nations would be considering their participation despite the organisers' assurances.

    "I think a lot of players involved here, a lot of clubs that they play for, and obviously their families back home, are not as convinced as officials," he said.

    "There are some multimillion-dollar players up there in Cabinda and a lot of them have clubs back in Europe who are obviously very concerned about them being exposed into an area where it seems security cannot be guaranteed."

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    Members of the Mozambique national team flying into Luanda were seeking assurances of protection.

    "Of course I think that it is very worrying," Otshudi Lam, a player, said.

    Amade Chababe, the assistant coach of the Mozambique team, said: "We have goosebumps.

    "Because with these attacks we cannot say that it only happens to Togo. Who knows what is going to happen to us?"

    Not convinced

    The Togo team had been training in the Congo Republic and were travelling to Angola by bus ahead of their match against Ghana on Monday.

    Local officials, however, questioned why the team were travelling by bus rather than air.

    "The rules are clear: no team should travel by bus. I don't know what led them to do this. The incident would not have happened in the city," Virgilio Santos, an organising official, was quoted by A Bola newspaper as saying.

    The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Flec), which has been fighting for independence for three decades, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was aimed at the team's military escorts.

    "This operation is only the start of a series of targeted  actions that will continue in all the territory of Cabinda," it said  in a statement on Portugal's Lusa news agency.

    Flec signed a peace deal with Angola's government in 2006, but in recent months has claimed a spate of attacks on the military and foreign oil and construction workers in the province.

    Kier Radnedge, from World Soccer magazine, told Al Jazeera the decision by the Togo team was not entirely unexpected.

    "You can understand the players' position entirely," he said.

    "They had a terrible experience and the natural reaction is to get out of there as soon as possible".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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