AP sources: Togo goes to French court over attack

Togo has filed a complaint in a French court against a

separatist movement and African Cup of Nations organizers after the

deadly Jan. 8 attack on the team in Angola, judicial officials said

Thursday.

The action targets the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave

of Cabinda, whose leader, Rodrigues Mingas, lives in France, and

the Confederation of African Football.

The prosecutor’s office will study the complaint against acts of

terrorism and murder to decide whether it should be pursued. It was

filed Jan. 29, the officials said. The officials spoke to The

Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not

authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Joined in the complaint as civil parties were the families of

two people killed in the attack, Togo assistant coach Amelete

Abalo, and press officer Dodji Komi Ocloo Azanledji, a judicial

official said.

The Angolan bus driver taking the team to its Cup base in

Cabinda also was killed in the attack on Jan. 8 in the northern

Angolan region, where separatists have long sought autonomy. Togo’s

team was withdrawn from the competition by its government.

Mingas has claimed responsibility for the attack in phone calls

with numerous French media. He was quoted as saying that all blows

are permitted in war: “In war, anything can happen, it’s just

starting.”

Mingas said in a new interview on Thursday with France 24 TV

channel that the Togo team bus was not the target of the

attack.

“This was not a premeditated hit against the bus of our

brothers of Togo,” Mingas said, adding that the sector where the

attack occurred was “where our troops operate against the

occupying Angolan forces.”

He also said that Togo was right to file a suit but that it

should have targeted Angola as well as competition organizers – not

his movement.

“We understand our brothers of Togo, but they must understand

that Cabinda is under occupation,” Mingas said.

The CAF, African soccer’s governing body, could not be reached

late Thursday. The CAF banned Togo from the next two editions of

the African Cup for it withdrawal, citing political

interference.

In addition to the suit, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a

terrorism inquiry on Jan. 15 into the separatists’ role in the

killings.

Angola had protested to the French authorities about the failure

to take legal measures against Mingas, who the Foreign Ministry

said was a French citizen, and restrict his movements. The inquiry

will examine whether the prosecutor can file formal charges against

Mingas for inciting “acts of terrorism.”