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Saturday, January 9, 2010
Nations Cup matches to go ahead in Cabinda

Soccernet staff

African Nations Cup matches will be played in Cabinda despite Friday's attack on the Togo team bus in the province, organisers the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said.

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"After an extraordinary meeting at the airport of Cabinda, the (CAF) president and the members of the executive committee present have decided in perfect coordination with the Angolan authorities to maintain the matches of Group B in Cabinda," CAF said in a statement on Saturday.

CAF said it would understand if Togo, who have been drawn in Group B, decided to leave the tournament after three people were killed by gunmen in the attack as the team were travelling to the finals.

The news comes as a spokesman for a faction of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), said that it would launch a series of operations against the Angolan army in the area.

Rodrigues Mingas, a spokesman for the Military Position faction of FLEC, which is seeking independence for the northern Angolan enclave of Cabinda, told the Dow Jones Newswires that the Togo attack was "only a prelude to a series of targeted operations which will take place on the whole territory of Cabinda against the Angolan occupation forces."

Meanwhile, Ghana revealed they have been ''shaken to the core'' by the terror attack, but have asked Togo to reconsider their decision to withdraw.

''We were all saddened by the news when reports broke out on Friday. We had arrived a day before with no incidents and never expected such an attack,'' Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi said. ''But when the Togolese described the moment of terror to us, we were really shaken to the core. Everyone was frightened and I must admit, we are gradually getting over it.''

Nyantakyi insists the Black Stars are ready for their first game and would welcome Togo's participation in the competition.

''Yes, we would be ready for the game. The players have managed to overcome it and are going about their preparations,'' he added. ''Though we acknowledge the terrifying nature of the attack, we hope Togo would rescind their decision to withdraw.''

However, he appreciates a major review of security in the region is needed in order to reassure his players and the other teams in Group B, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

''We have sought assurances from the organisers, the LOC (Local Organising Committee) and the government of Angola,'' Nyantakyi said. ''It's important for us to be able to lift the players from such a gloom that has engulfed the competition and one key area is the security that needs to be put in place.

''The incident happened some 150km away from Cabinda but it's imperative that measures are put in place to forestall any future occurrence.

''The safety of everyone is most important and we hope we can go through the competition without any setback. It's rather unfortunate that the African Cup of Nations has experienced such an incident.''

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