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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 16:34 GMT
Net closes on Samiou's killers
By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport

Youssoufou Samiou

Police in Benin have arrested one man and are chasing two others in connection with the murder of the country's under-20 goalkeeper Youssoufou Samiou.

Samiou died on Monday morning in the capital Cotonou after being attacked the previous night on a beach near the team hotel where Benin are staying for the 2005 African Youth Championships.

Several reports have linked Samiou's murder with Benin's heavy opening group 3-0 loss by Nigeria on Saturday, but police believe the youngster died when an attempted robbery went wrong.

"The crime has nothing to do with the defeat against Nigeria because we know the names of the people who committed this act and they are criminals," Gaudens Segbo, of Cotonou's Anti-Criminality Branch, told BBC Sport on Wednesday.

The men asked for two mobiles that Samiou had but he refused to hand them over so they attacked him
Gaudens Segbo, Cotonou Anti-Criminality Branch

Beninois police arrested a 30-year-old man on Tuesday, and are currently looking for two younger men, aged between 20 and 23, in an area around ten kilometres outside the Beninois capital.

"The men asked for the two mobile phones that Samiou had in his hands," Segbo explained.

"But he refused to hand over his mobiles so they attacked him, and that's how he suffered a blow to his head."

Cotonou police believe that the instrument used by the men to inflict Samiou's head wounds was either a stone or a hammer.

Two witnesses to the incident gave police the names of the three men believed to be involved in the attack.

"We believe the two men because they helped us to find one of the phones taken from the goalkeeper," Segbo added.

"We saw blood on the beach as well as found a stone nearby with blood on it."

Cameroonian female

Cotonou's Anti-Criminality Branch believes that Samiou left the hotel to meet a Cameroonian woman around 2000 GMT on Sunday.

The goalkeeper was supposed to be in his hotel but allegedly slipped past security and failed to tell anyone where he was going.

"Normally, the girlfriend from Cameroon should have been apprehended by the first policeman on the scene," Segbo said.

"But they let her escape because everybody was running after the robbers. After a few minutes, she went away.

"We don't know where she has gone and we are doing our very best to find her."

The 30-year-old currently in police custody has previously served a 19-month jail sentence for robbery.

One of the younger men, who police say were the first to approach Samiou, has also served a six-month jail term for robbery.

Police say they expect to publish a report into Samiou's death by next Monday.




SEE ALSO
African Youth Championship
16 Jul 04 |  African
Benin respond in style
18 Jan 05 |  African
Benin police launch murder hunt
18 Jan 05 |  African
Tragedy hits youth championship
17 Jan 05 |  African



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