Benguela, Angola–As the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament heats up, Samir Zaher, head of the Egyptian Football Association sent out a cry for help after the Egyptian team received threats from the same armed group that opened fire on a bus carrying the Togolese national team a few days ago.
Speaking from Benguela, Zaher urged officials in Cairo to take action to protect the national team. "I hope that officials in Egypt can hear me and take quick measures to protect the delegation in Benguela with Egyptian security forces," said Zaher, adding that he didn’t trust the Angolan forces to do the job.
The separatist group that took responsibility for the attack issued a statement to Agence France Press last week saying, "We are in a state of war and all kinds of attacks are permissible."
Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister Ahmed Taha met with the head of the judicial police in Angola on Saturday to request that the Egyptian national team receive protection. Taha said that supplementary guards will be appointed to secure the hotel where the Egyptian team is staying, and two police cars will accompany the team when it moves.
Meanwhile, Togolese team captain Emmanuel Adebayor said his team is pulling out of the tournament after their bus was attacked by machine gunfire on Friday and three people were killed in an attack by separatist rebels.
"The government has decided we are withdrawing from the Cup, and so we’ll pack up and return home," Adebayor said in statements carried on Radio Monte-Carlo.
The Egyptian team’s first match is scheduled Tuesday against Nigeria.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.