African Nations Cup 2010

Rebel group leader denies intent in Togo attack

January 12, 2010
By Soccernet staff

A separatist leader has claimed the Togo national team was not deliberately targeted in Friday's gun attack in Angola.

Cabinda
GettyImagesArmed troops attended Group B's opening match on Monday

There has been widespread concern about the safety of those in the African Nations Cup since the Togo team bus was attacked by rebels in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda last week, killing three people on board.

Togo have since been disqualified from the tournament but, with the bulk of the Group B matches taking place in Cabinda, there are fears that the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Burkina Faso squads could also come under attack.

However, the leader of Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, the group that claimed responsibility for the attack, insisted it was not their intention to attack Togo and that they will not seek to disrupt the African Nations Cup.

"Our goal is not to kill foreigners and Togolese who have nothing to do with this," Rodrigues Mingas told the Associated Press. "We are battling the Angolan military."

On the Togo attack, Mingas said: "You know the insurgents don't have a crystal ball ... it was routine. With binoculars they looked and said, 'Look there are some Angolan troops over there, let's ambush them.'"

Despite insisting the group would not actively target the tournament, Mingas did warn that there would be no ceasefire while it takes place.

"Cabinda is at war - there is no truce," he said. "War is war."