'LEAVE Angola!'

LOME, TOGO -Togo's government sent a plane to Angola yesterday to bring home its national football team from the violence-marred Africa Cup of Nations after an attack left at least two dead and nine others injured, said prime minister Gilbert Houngbo.

LOME, TOGO -Togo's government sent a plane to Angola yesterday to bring home its national football team from the violence-marred Africa Cup of Nations after an attack left at least two dead and nine others injured, said prime minister Gilbert Houngbo.

Houngbo told journalists they were awaiting the Togolise delegation in Lome yesterday.

Togo ordered its footballers home from the Africa Cup of Nations, though the squad had expressed the desire to stay and take to the pitch in the wake of Friday's ambush on their convoy by militants.

At least two members of the Togolese contingent - one an assistant coach, the other a team spokesman - were killed and nine wounded when hooded gunmen opened fire on Togo's players as they drove into Angola's northern Cabinda enclave from neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville.

Togo's soccer team forward said yesterday the team was leaving Angola after its government recalled them from the African Cup of Nations tournament, accusing host Angola of failing to protect the players following a ambush on their bus.

The players had earlier said they wanted to stay and compete in honour of the dead, who included their assistant coach, a team spokesman and the Angolan bus driver.

"We fully understand our government's decision to leave because they didn't receive enough guarantees for our security," forward Thomas Dossevi told AP yesterday.

Togo's prime minister, Gilbert Houngbo, said the country's presidential plane was in Angola to take the team back to Lome, Togo's capital.

He said it would take some time to get them back since they had to accommodate the wounded.

The Togo team was ambushed Friday in an attack blamed on militants fighting for the independence of Cabinda, killing three and injuring eight.

Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor told local station Radio Ecclesia the team tried to stay, but "we are children of the Togo and we will abide by the decision of our government."

Togo's prime minister reiterated the government's decision to demand the team withdraw from the tournament.

"Angola and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have not taken adequate security measures to ensure the safety of the Togolese national team," Houngbo said.

"We stand by our decision to demand the return of our national team from Angola."

With tournament officials having declaring that the tournament would still start yesterday , the tour party was met in Cabinda on Saturday where most of the top CAF officials implored Togo to stay.

CAF president Issa Hayatou said he'd received a guarantee from Angola prime minister Antonio Paulo Kassoma that security would be beefed up for all teams and at all venues.

The Angolan government built a new stadium in Cabinda for pool play in the African Cup.

- Sapa-AP

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