Gunmen opened fire with machine guns on a bus carrying Togo’s football team to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, wounding several players.
Officials say the shooting occurred in the Angolan oil-rich territory of Cabinda, where rebels have been fighting for independence. The Angolan government called the incident an “act of terrorism”. There are reports of serious injuries. Togo is due to play its first game in Cabinda on Monday.
Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor was on the bus but is unhurt. In a statement, Manchester City said Adebayor had been “shaken by the terrible events” but was “unharmed”.
The bus was travelling to Cabinda from the squad’s training ground in the Republic of Congo when the shooting happened.
“This was an act of terrorism,” Cabinda affairs minister Bento Bembe told Reuters news agency. However Africa Cup of Nations officials described the attackers as armed robbers. Angola had dismissed concerns about staging games in Cabinda prior to the tournament.
Togo striker Thomas Dossevi told France’s RMC radio that several players were “in a bad state”.
“We were machine-gunned, like dogs,” he said. “At the border with Angola – machine-gunned! I don’t know why. I thought it was some rebels. We were under the seats of the bus for 20 minutes, trying to get away from the bullets.”
The identities of those injured – who also included team staff – are not known.
Midfielder Alaixys Romao told RMC Togo were now likely to pull out of the 16-nation tournament.
“No-one wants to play,” he said. “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.”