Page last updated at 22:29 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Togo football stars tell of gun attack

Emmanuel Adebayor was uninjured
Emmanuel Adebayor was unhurt in the attack, Manchester City say

Players in Togo's national football team have told of their shock when gunmen fired on their bus as they drove to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

Manchester City player Emmanuel Adebayor described it as "one of the worst things I've ever been through in my life".

He said the bus was targeted just 5km (3 miles) across the border and the shooting lasted for half an hour.

He described how players and other team members were trapped in the bus.

'In shock'

"They shot dead our driver, there was no-one to drive the bus," he told the BBC.

He said those on the bullet-riddled vehicle had to continue to dodge bullets to jump into the cars that eventually came to rescue them.

All the players - everyone was crying [...] saying their last words because they thought they'd be dead
Emmanuel Adebayor

Manchester City player

"It was like we were living in a dream. I'm still under shock," he said.

"I am one of those who carried the injured players into the hospital, that is when I realised what was really going on. All the players - everyone was crying, calling their mums, crying on the phone, saying their last words because they thought they'd be dead."

Thomas Dossevi, who plays for Togo and FC Nantes, said they had been "machine-gunned, like dogs".

He told how players had hidden under the seats of the bus as bullets flew around them.

Several players are reported to have been injured in the attack in the Angolan territory of Cabinda.

Aston Villa said its 26-year-old midfielder Moustapha Salifou was "shaken but okay" following the attack.

"Machine-gunned at the border with Angola!" Mr Dossevi told French sport radio RMC.

"I don't know why. We were under the seats of the bus for 20 minutes trying to get away from the bullets."

'Heavy firing'

Mr Dossevi described the gunmen as hooded and "armed to the teeth".

He said the team had just completed border checks when the firing started.

"We were surrounded by the police and everything was in order," he told AFP news agency.

"Then there was heavy firing and police fired back. You would have thought we were in a war. We were shocked. When we got out of the bus we asked ourselves, why us?"

He said the goalkeeping coach and the doctor were among those wounded.

"We don't really want to play in the Africa Cup of Nations," he said. "We are thinking of our friends, the injured players."

Midfielder Richmond Forson said the number of injuries could have been much worse had the gunmen not originally fired on the wrong bus.

They thought we were in the bus in front, fortunately for us
Togo player Richmond Forson

"It was the bus carrying our baggage which was in front of us which they fired on the most," he told French TV channel 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."

He added: "It's disgusting to take bullets for a football match."

Fellow midfielder Alaixys Romao said the players had feared the worst and he believed Togo were now likely to pull out of the tournament.

"We're not thinking yet of what could happen," said the Grenoble player.

"But it's true that no-one wants to play. We're not capable of it.

"We are 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 are thinking of those near us, of those we love because that really could have been the end of us."

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