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Africa Cup of Nations to go on despite terror attack


Luanda: Africa’s controlling football body said that the Africa Cup of Nations will go ahead, hours after an attack on the Togo team bus left one person dead and nine wounded.

The bus driver was killed and two Togolese players were among those wounded when the bus came under machine-gun fire shortly after entering Angola.

The attack was claimed by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) – which has threatened further attacks during the tournament.

“We had just crossed the border, surrounded by police buses. Everything appeared fine, when suddenly the gunfire opened up,” Togo striker Thomas Dossevi told Monte Carlo radio. “They were using automatic weapons, and we came under fire for 20 minutes, hiding under our seats.”

“My only thought is to call off the competition and go home,” he added.

Suleimanu Habuba, Confederation of African Football (CAF) director of communications, said Friday that the attack came as a shock.

“Our first priority is the safety of the players, but the tournament will go ahead,” he said.

In a statement following an emergency meeting held on word of the incident, the confederation condemned the attack, which occurred 10 km inside the Angolan territory as the Togolese delegation headed to Cabinda from Congo.

CAF said that Angolan authorities had sent a team to the area to assess the situation.

“According to the information provided by the director general, all injured people were taken to a hospital in Cabinda,” the CAF statement said.

Organisers are also to meet with Angolan officials Saturday in Cabinda to discuss the shooting. Angolan Prime Minister Antonio Paulo Kassoma and CAF President Issa Hayatou are to meet Saturday to “take decisions to guarantee the smooth running of the competition”, the confederation said.

“CAF is terribly saddened by these events and express its total support as well as sympathy to the entire Togolese delegation.”

Togolese players, who are to play their first game Monday in Cabinda, said late Friday that they would discuss withdrawing from the competition.

The team has been drawn into the so-called Group of Death with Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.