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Cabinda rebel group FLEC-PM claims responsibility...

The Togo national football team's bus has been attacked by gunmen in Cabinda, Angola, resulting in the death of the driver and injury to several passengers, including two players.

Armed separatists fired machine guns at the bus as it entered northern Cabinda from neighbouring Congo, where Togo had been in training camp ahead of Angola's African Nations Cup of 2010.

The bus driver was described as dead on the scene, while two players were also caught in the fire. These were Serge Akakpo, a 22-year-old with Romanian's FC Vaslui, and 25-year-old Kodjovi Obilale, who plays in goal for amateur side GSI Pontivy in France.

A team doctor and another unidentified member of Togolese staff are thought to be the other two casualties.

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While Manchester City star Emmanuel Adebayor was among the uninjured, the Togolese star forward has joined many of his teammates in declaring that his team should withdrawn from the tournament.

He said to the BBC, "I think a lot of players want to leave, I don't think they want to be at this tournament any more because they have seen their death already.

"Most of the players want to go back to their family. No-one can sleep after what they have seen. They have seen one of their team-mates have a bullet in his body, who is crying, who is losing consciousness and everything.

"So we will have a good meeting, everyone will go to their room, they will rest and we will see. [On Saturday morning] we will make a decision which is good for our life."

Meanwhile Grenoble midfielder Alaixys Romao told The Guardian that Togo's future in the tournament is now far from certain.

The 25-year-old midfielder said, "We're not thinking yet of what could happen. But it's true that no one wants to play.

"We're not capable of it. We're thinking first of all about the health of our injured because there was a lot of blood on the ground. For the moment there is not much news because they have been taken to different hospitals."

Thomas Dossevi, a veteran with French side Nantes, was one of the first to speak. He said to RMC radio, "I’m fine but the players are in bad shape. It’s madness. We’re in the hospital in the north of Cabinda. We were shot at like dogs.

"They were hooded and armed to the teeth. We spent 20 minutes stuck under the seats of the bus. There was security but there wasn't enough."

Tournament Will Continue

The Confederation of African Football has stated that the ACN 2010 will not be cancelled despite the attacks.

This decision was announced following a crisis meeting in Luanda, in which it was also decided that the CAF vice-president would travel to the area personally to carry out further investigations.

Communications director Souleymane Habuba said, "Our great concern is for the players, but the championship goes ahead."

However, there has been no announcement yet on whether or not Cabinda's seven matches will be moved elsewhere in the country.

Motivation

The bus was attacked just over the border from the Republic of Congo in Cabinda, an Angolan exclave. The oil-rich province of Cabinda has recently been embroiled in a long-running independence struggle with Angola. Nonetheless, seven African Cup of Nations matches are scheduled to take place in Cabinda's main city.

Togo had conducted a training camp in the Republic of Congo prior to the African Cup of Nations, which is due to begin this Sunday.

A local armed separatist group took responsibility for the attack. A statement attributed to the FLEC-PM (Liberation Force of Cabinda - Military Position) to RFI radio indicated that this was the start of a continued operation.

"This attack just caused one death and 3 gravely injured persons. This operation is just the beginning of a series of targeted actions that will continue across the territory of Cabinda," said a spokesperson.

Rami Ayari, Goal.com

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