Togo national football team attack
The Togo national football team bus attack was a terrorist attack that occurred on 8 January 2010 as the Togo national football team traveled through the Angolan province of Cabinda on the way to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which began on 10 January. A little-known offshoot of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), a group promoting independence for the province of Cabinda, known as the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda – Military Position (FLEC-PM), claimed responsibility for the attack. Bus driver Mário Adjoua, the team's assistant manager Améleté Abalo, and media officer Stanislas Ocloo were killed, with several others injured. Secretary General of the FLEC-PM Rodrigues Mingas, currently exiled in France, claimed the attack was not aimed at the Togolese players but at the Angolan forces at the head of the convoy. Authorities reported two suspects were detained in connection with the attacks.
|Togo national football team bus attack|
|Location||Cabinda Province, Angola|
|Date||8 January 2010|
|Target||Togolese National Football Team and Angolan National Armed Forces|
|Perpetrators||Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda-Military Position (FLEC-PM)|
On 8 January 2010, the Togo national team bus was attacked by gunmen as it traveled through the Angolan province of Cabinda for the Africa Cup of Nations. The bus came under machine gun fire just after it had crossed the border from the Republic of the Congo into the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda. All of Togo's initial Group B games were to take place in the Estádio Nacional do Chiazi stadium in Cabinda.
According to rebel leader Mingas, the attack was carried out by his Commander Sametonne who claimed 15 FLEC fighters participated in the ambush. The siege lasted for at least 30 minutes. The bus driver, Mário Adjoua, was killed, cutting off all possible means of escape. The passengers hid beneath the seats. A security team of around 10 men in two cars travelling with the team returned the attackers' fire.
FC Vaslui defender Serge Akakpo was badly wounded by bullets and lost blood, as was goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilalé. Alongside both players, Vice-President Gabriel Ameyi of the Togolese Football Federation and seven members including a journalist and two team doctors were wounded. Emmanuel Adebayor said the attack was, "one of the worst things I've ever been through in my life." He had to carry his screaming teammates into the hospital as he was one of those least affected. Thomas Dossevi said, "It was a real hell. Twenty minutes of shots, of blood and fear," and Richmond Forson said, "The bus carrying the luggage was riddled. Maybe they thought we were there. Then they opened fire, even against our coaches. It was terrible." Dossevi said the team was "machine-gunned, like dogs."
The Angolan separatist guerrilla group Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) has claimed responsibility for the attack. A statement signed by FLEC's secretary general Rodrigues Mingas said, "This operation is just the start of a series of planned actions that will continue to take place in the whole territory of Cabinda." French Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Bernard Valero said that "inciting violence is totally unacceptable" and Mingas could be prosecuted under French laws for making such statements. A larger offshoot group known as Armed Forces of Cabinda (FLEC-FAC) also claimed the responsibility. The leader of the group Jean-Claude N'Zita dismissed Mingas' faction as opportunist.
Three people were killed and nine injured.
- Améleté Abalo – Assistant coach of the Togo national football team and manager of ASKO Kara (died on 9 January 2010)
- Stanislas Ocloo (died on 9 January 2010) – TV sports commentator/journalist for Togolese Television
- Mário Adjoua – Angolan-born bus driver (died on 8 January 2010)
- Kodjovi Obilalé – was shot in the lower back. The bullet split into several pieces making its way into his stomach. The goalkeeper's condition was reportedly stabilized on 11 January. South African doctors suggested leaving bullet fragments in his stomach since the operation to remove them would possibly cause more damage.
- Serge Akakpo
- Hubert Velud—Manager
- Waké Nibombé
- Elista Kodjo Lano
- Divinelae Amevor – physiotherapist
- Tadafame Wadja – doctor
In connection with the deadly attack on the Togolese national football team, the Angolan police arrested two suspects on 10 January 2010. As the national radio reported, citing the prosecutor, the arrests were made in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, located between the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in West Africa. A total of 9 suspects were arrested.
Angola arrested four men – Monsignor Raul Tati, a Roman Catholic priest and later bishop, Francisco Luemba, a lawyer, Belchior Tati, an economist and Jose Benjamin Fuca, a former police officer – who had documents about Flec and had travelled to Paris for meetings with exiled leaders. In August, they were jailed for links to FLEC-PM. A court in Cabinda found the four guilty of crimes against state security; although the judge did not say whether the four had direct links to the attack. Their prison sentences ranged from three to five years. On 11 January, two FLEC operatives were arrested near the site of the shooting.
The trial was criticised by human rights groups that accused the government of using the attacks to justify a crackdown on critics. Martinho Nombo, a lawyer taking part in the court hearings, said the judge convicted them only because they had spoken or written about independence for Cabinda. "This is unconstitutional. A judge cannot jail someone for nothing. This will only worsen Angola's poor record on human rights and the whole peace process with FLEC. The supposed link was implied rather than stated. They were convicted on the basis of those documents." Human Rights Watch also criticised the conviction calling the four "activists" and saying "This is clearly a lost opportunity to restore justice in Angola, and particularly in Cabinda."
The Togolese team called for a boycott of the competition as a result of the attack. Alaixys Romao and Thomas Dossevi spoke of their disgust and their lack of desire to compete following their experience. Togo's national football squad subsequently withdrew from the tournament. Togolese midfielder Alaixys Romao said the team was also trying to persuade the other teams in their group to pull out of the competition. After seeing the aftermath of the attack, members of the Mozambique national team flying into Luanda asked for assurances of protection.
Later there was something of a reversal as two of the Togolese players said they would play in the African Nations Cup in "memory of the dead." Thomas Dossevi, one of the Togolese players, announced that Togo would compete "to show our national colours, our values and that we are men." The Togolese government, however, subsequently ordered the team to return home after all, on grounds of security.
On 11 January 2010, Togo was officially disqualified from the Africa Cup upon their return to their homeland. The Togolese team had left on Sunday, two days after the attack on the team bus. "The team is disqualified, this group will consist of three teams", said a spokesman for the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF). According to Togo Sports Minister, Christophe Padumhokou Tchao, Togo's official request to re-join the tournament was denied despite the reasoning to mourn the fallen members of the team.
Angolan government minister António Bento Bembe called it an "act of terrorism", and stepped up security at the tournament. Martin O'Neill, manager of player Moustapha Salifou at Aston Villa, expressed his shock on the club's website. Manchester City and Portsmouth football clubs expressed concerns over the safety of their players. Players from other teams in Africa, such as Benni McCarthy and Momo Sissoko, condemned the attack. Togolese Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo ordered a three-day period of national mourning. "The government has opted for a prolonged nationwide three days of mourning period, which will begin on Monday 11 January 2010," Houngbo said on state television.
Danny Jordaan, organiser of the 2010 FIFA World Cup which was played in South Africa in June and July 2010, dismissed concerns that the attack had any relevance to the security arrangements for the World Cup.
On 12 April, Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor announced his retirement from international football, stating that he was "still haunted by the events I witnessed on that horrible afternoon." Adebeyor subsequently returned to international duty in November 2011 following assurances from the Togo Football Federation regarding safety, making his comeback in a 1–0 win over Guinea-Bissau in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
- "Togo withdraw from Africa Cup of Nations". BBC Sport. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
- "Assistant coach among dead in attack on Togo team". CNN. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- Sturcke, James (11 January 2010). "Togo footballers were attacked by mistake, Angolan rebels say". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "Rss Liste des blessés lors de l'attaque contre le bus des Eperviers". Ajst.info. Retrieved 20 June 2010.[permanent dead link]
- Aleisha Tissen (11 January 2010). "Two held over attack on team". The Citizen. Retrieved 11 January 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "Togo footballers shot in ambush". BBC News. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- White, Duncan; Norrish, Mike (9 January 2010). "Togo pull out of African Nations Cup after bus attack in Angola". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- Angela Charlton (12 January 2010). "Togo Bus Rampage Exposes France's Angola Ties". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- "Togo football stars tell of gun attack". BBC Sport. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- "Togo players injured, driver killed in gun attack". RTÉ Sport. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- "Togo government tells team to quit Cup of Nations". BBC Sport. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "Mannschaftsbus von Togo an angolanischer Grenze beschossen" (in German).
- "2 Togo soccer players hurt in gun attack". CBC Sports. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "Drittes Todesopfer – Togo denkt an Rückzug". Morgenpost.de. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- David Smith (8 January 2010). "Emanuel Adebayor on Togo football team bus ambushed by Angola gunmen". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- REUTERS, 9 January 2010, 02.30am IST (9 January 2010). "Angola rebels FLEC claim Togo football team attack". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Almeida, Henrique (8 January 2010). "One dead, 9 hurt in gun attack on Togo soccer team". Reuters. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "Second group claims attack". The Straits Times. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- Nicholas Mc Anally. "CAN : les Eperviers rentrent au Togo". Afrik.com. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- (in German) Zwei Tote bei Anschlag, OK erhebt Vorwürfe Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- (in German) Zwei Tote bei Terrorangriff auf Togo-Auswahl
- "Stanislas Ocloo". Committee to Protect Journalists. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "RFI – Cup of Nations to proceed after three die in bus attack". Rfi.fr. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "(Agence AFP)". Sport.onet.pl. Archived from the original on 3 July 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Donna Bryson. "Togo goalkeeper improving in South Africa, doctors opt to leave bullet in stomach". Canadian Press. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- zuletzt aktualisiert: 9 January 2010 – 19:30 (22 February 1999). "Togo sagt Afrika-Cup-Teilnahme ab". Rp-online.de. Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- "Togo Soccer Bus Attacked Near Angola". Huffingtonpost.com. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- bedrane mohamed amine Archived 11 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Petrequin, Samuel (11 January 2010). "2 separatists held in attack on Togo soccer team". Associated Press. Retrieved 11 January 2010.[dead link]
- "Attacked Togo stars want Africa Cup of Nations boycott". BBC Sport. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- "Africa – Togo withdraw from Africa Cup". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- Jason Burt & Paul Kelso (8 January 2010). "Togo: we cannot play after this bloodshed". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- "Togo withdraw from Africa Cup of Nations". Sport.stv.tv. 9 January 2010. Archived from the original on 11 January 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- "Togo tritt nach Anschlag nun doch bei Afrika-Cup an". Krone.at. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Reeves, Nick (10 January 2010). "Togo in dramatic African Nations Cup u-turn". News.smh.com.au. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- "Emmanuel Adebayor says Togo team will return home". BBC News (Sport). 10 January 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- Watson, Roland; Costello, Miles; Fleming, Sam; Jonathan Clayton; Anne Barrowclough; Ben Smith (10 January 2010). "Togo team flying home after terrorist attack". The Times. London. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- "Togo's request to return to play at the Africa Cup of Nations has been turned down by the tournament organisers". World Soccer. 11 January 2010. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- Andrew Southwick & Mohammed Bhana (8 January 2010). "Benni McCarthy Leads Condemnation Of Togo Attack: Africa As A Whole Will Be Disgusted". Goal.com. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- "Staatstrauer in Togo nach Anschlag auf Nati". Bielertagblatt.ch. 1 July 2006. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- "Hull boss Phil Brown". BBC Sport. 9 January 2010. F.A. Premier League Managers Phil Brown(Hull City),Avram Grant (Portsmouth F.C.) and Harry Redknapp(Tottenham Hotspurs) also brought up the security arrangements and have asked if the players from these teams would return from the tournament back to England. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "Emmanuel Adebayor retires from Togo international duty". BBC Sport. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
- Sannie, Ibrahim (10 November 2011). "BBC Sport – Tottenham's Adebayor comes out of Togo retirement". BBC News. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Reuters (15 November 2011). "Emmanuel Adebayor in winning return for Togo in World Cup qualifying | Football | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2011.