Friday, January 8, 2010

Football Ambush in Africa

Terrorism came crashing into the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament today when the bus carrying the team from Togo was attacked as it crossed the border from Congo into Cabinda region of Angola. Cabinda is an oil-rich region separated from the rest of Angola by a strip of land belonging to the Republic of the Congo, rebels fought for independence for Cabinda until 2006 when a truce was signed with the Angolan government in Luanda hat signaled an end to hostilities.

That is until now. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC for short), the group that had led the previous fight for independence, has claimed responsibility for the Togo attack and said that it was the "start of a series of targeted actions" in Cabinda. FLEC attackers raked the Togo team bus with machine gun fire as soon as it crossed the border from the Congo. Nine Togo footballers where injured, at least one seriously; the driver of the bus was killed in the attack.

Organizers of the Africa Cup of Nations were concerned about Angola staging some of the Cup games in Cabinda, but government officials dismissed their fears, promising to have extra security at the events. Angola has tried to promote itself recently as a stable and growing nation in southwest Africa, even purchasing an advertising supplement in Foreign Policy magazine in recent months. Angola's state-run oil company recently won bids to develop several oil fields in Iraq, a sign of their growing economic clout in the region.
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