Togo team bus in gun attack
The Togo national team came under attack from gunfire in Angola, with their bus driver killed and nine others thought to have been wounded.
Last Updated: 10/01/10 9:33am
The Togo national team came under attack from gunfire in Angola when their bus was ambushed, with their driver killed and as many as nine others thought to have been wounded.
The Sparrow Hawks are in the country ahead of the African Cup of Nations which gets under way on Sunday, with Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Aston Villa's Moustapha Salifou amongst the travelling party. Both escaped uninjured.
Those less fortunate included two footballers from the West African nation, with Togolese football federation vice-president Gabriel Ameyi having said back-up goalkeeper Obilale Kossi and central defender Serge Akakpo were among those hurt.
Romanian side FC Vaslui confirmed their defender Akakpo, who joined the club from French side Auxerre last year, was shot and badly injured in the attack.
The club said, though, the 22-year-old was out of danger after being treated by doctors.
A statement on the club's website read: "Badly injured in an ambush in Angola, Serge Akakpo is now out of danger.
"Akakpo was struck by two bullets in the attack and has lost much blood. His condition was stabilised by doctors.
"FC Vaslui have been in touch with relatives of the player, who confirmed he has undergone surgery, which went very well."
Aston Villa have also confirmed that their 26-year-old midfielder Salifou was "shaken but okay" following the attack.
A statement posted on City's official website read: "Manchester City can confirm that striker Emmanuel Adebayor is uninjured after this afternoon's attack on the Togo team bus in Angola.
"Club officials have spoken with Adebayor and though shaken by the terrible events, he is unharmed."
Togo are scheduled to begin their cup campaign against Ghana on Monday, but their participation in the tournament now looks in serious doubt.
Togo and Nantes striker Thomas Dossevi told French radio station RMC: "I'm okay but several players are in a bad state.
"We are still at hospital. We were machine-gunned like dogs and had to remain hidden under our seats for around 20 minutes to avoid the bullets."
Midfielder Alaixys Romao admits the players feared the worst and thinks Togo are now likely to pull out of the tournament.
"We're not thinking yet of what could happen," said Romao, who plays his club football for Grenoble.
"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.
"In cases like these we're thinking of those near us, of those we love because that really could have been the end of us."
Midfielder Richmond Forson believes the number of injuries could have been much worse had the gunmen not originally fired on the wrong bus.
"It was the bus carrying our baggage which was in front of us which they fired on the most," he told Canal Plus. "They thought we were in the bus in front.
"Fortunately for us. That's what saved us. Then they fired on our driver and those who were in front. The windscreen was shattered by the first bullets.
"It's disgusting to take bullets for a football match."
Dossevi later gave more details about the attack. He added: "We had just crossed the border five minutes before, we were surrounded by police buses, one in front of us another behind.
"Everything was fine and then there was a powerful burst of gunfire.
"Everyone threw themselves under the seats and tried to protect themselves but some couldn't escape the bullets.
"It lasted a good 15 minutes, the police fired back but really, it was hard to handle and it still is now. I'm shocked.
"When we got off the bus we were asking ourselves why us and not others? We were asking ourselves what had happened, we were crying and thanking God."