Today Togo should have played Ghana at Africa Cup of Nations 2010 in Angola. Separatists rebels, Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), attacked Togo’s team bus Three people were killed and nine injured. Togo has left the tournament.
“Unfortunately, the situation [in Cabinda] is not stable because there is a separatist movement. They are trying to gain independence and they have been carrying out the struggle for several decades. […] I really don’t understand the logic behind having [matches] there, knowing that the political situation there is not stable, that the separatists will take advantage of having these foreign teams coming into Cabinda and try to make a statement.”
– Mohamed El-Khawas, professor of history and political science at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in Washington, DC
“The worst is that every time FLEC attacks, the army responds by attacking civilians and, in some cases, routing entire villages. These are blatant human rights violations which are largely ignored.”
– Rafael Marques, Angolan human rights activist
“[We’re] a bit bitter, we are a little disappointed with the Confederation of African Football [CAF] … which couldn’t arrange for a postponement of our first match so we could bury our dead”
– Thomas Dossevi, Togo and Nantes defender
Whether the claim to independence is legitimate or not it is also connected to the occurrence of oil and minerals in the region. Cabinda is “ethnically and linguistically distinct” from the rest of the country but offshore oil fields talk. More than half of Angola’s export earnings are from Cabindan oil. The government says it has spent more than 1 billion $ on improving local infrastructure and wanted to display Cabinda to the world as a safe place to invest.
Sources: Africa Cup of Nations 2010 at Wikipedia, Angola’s Cabinda Province Poor Choice for Football Tournament, says Analyst, Angola shooting shatters peaceful façade, Why the World Cup rehearsal went so wrong.