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    Mar 2009


    Default Togo team bus attacked by gunmen, one death

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    Gunmen opened fire Friday on the bus carrying the Togo national football team in Angola, reportedly wounding several players ahead of the African Cup of Nations.

    "We were machine-gunned like dogs," Togo player Thomas Dossevi, who plays for French club Nantes, told Radio Monte Carlo. "They were armed to the teeth ... We spent 20 minutes underneath the seats of the bus."

    RMC reported that three players were seriously injured in the attack -- Serge Gakpe, who plays for Monaco, Serge Akakpo of Romanian club Vaslui and Kodjovi Obilale of French lower league team Pontivy. The team's top player, Emmanuel Adebayor, was not hurt, according to his club Manchester City.

    According to other reports, the bus driver was killed.

    "They should not have travelled by road," Togolese football federation vice-president Gabriel Ameyi said in Lome. "They did not tell CAF that they were travelling by road. They should have flown to Angola."

    Ameyi said two team doctors were among the injured.

    The injured were taken to a hospital in Cabinda, Angola's main oil-producing region which has been plagued by unrest. Human rights groups have accused the military of atrocities and claim government officials have embezzled millions of dollars in oil revenue. The government has denied the charges.

    "We had just crossed the border and were going through customs," Dossevi told Infosport television in France. "We were surrounded by police buses. Everything looked fine and we came under heavy fire. Everyone scrambled under the seats trying to protect themselves. It lasted at least a quarter of an hour with the police responding."

    Alaixys Romao, who plays for French club Grenoble, told RMC: "We're all still in shock. As far as I know, seven people were hit by bursts of machine-gun fire ... the driver, our doctor, a member of the delegation, the assistant coach, the goalkeeping coach and two players."

    In England, Manchester City said Adebayor was uninjured in the shooting.

    "Club officials have spoken with Adebayor and though shaken by the terrible events, he is unharmed," a club statement said.

    Aston Villa said midfielder Moustapha Salifou was also unhurt.

    The 16-team African tournament starts Sunday, with Togo due to play its opening match on Monday against Ghana in Cabinda.

    Claude Leroy, a former Cameroon and Ghana coach, said African footballing authorities now had to decide whether to play the tournament.

    "You have to ask the question. Football's just a game," Leroy told RMC. "This is really serious and means that safety cannot be guaranteed. These local hotspots can be really dangerous. The CAF is going to have to take a decision on this crazy shooting."



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