Merouane Zemmama's shock over Togo team bus attack

MEROUANE Zemmama has revealed his shock at the terrorism which has resulted in such a grave loss of human life at the Africa Cup of Nations, which began in Angola last night.

The Hibernian midfielder would have been involved with Morocco had his country not failed to qualify, but believes the tournament should be allowed to take place despite reports that the armed wing of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda may strike again.

On Friday the bus transporting Togo's footballers to their base in Cabinda was shot at by members of a movement active in the fight for Cabinda's independence from Angola since the mid 1970s. Three people, including the bus driver, were killed.

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Zemmama said: "I was very shocked and disappointed by the news. They took a bus to a bad area when they might usually have taken a plane. I have been to Angola with the national team, and it has not been like this. This is the first time I have heard of something like this. (But] it is better to stay and play and give something positive to the Africa nations."

Hibs manager John Hughes revealed after the Scottish Cup fourth round win over Irvine Meadow that the club had made efforts to contact Sol Bamba, the Ivory Coast defender who is due to appear in the tournament.

"We are trying to get in touch with him just to make sure that everything is alright," he said. "What I will say, no matter where something like this happens in football, it's a world-wide game and we all come together. Everyone at Hibs sends their condolences."

Hughes stopped short of calling back Bamba, despite some English Premier League managers having requested the return of their own players from Africa.

"It is a Fifa-run tournament, and they will be under good security, that is for sure," he said. "I am quite happy he is in safe hands. I put all my trust in Fifa and the organisers of the tournament. I am talking about one player here, but I think the fact that people have lost their lives is more concerning."

The other SPL player participating in the tournament, Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra, remains focused on African Nations Cup success with Algeria despite the attack. Speaking from the Algeria team camp, Bougherra said: "Of course, this is a very serious and unfortunate situation. But all we are thinking about is our match against Malawi.

"We have had good preparation for the competition and, mentally, we are equipped to deal with this. Our aim is to go as far as possible in the Africa Cup of Nations and bring joy to the Algerian people."

Algeria's team bus was attacked in Egypt during their World Cup qualifying campaign and the 27-year-old added: "We've been through so much. But we have kept on fighting and never given up. We can't let anything break our concentration as it's so important to get off to a good start."

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Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, has questioned fellow Barclays Premier League bosses' motivation for calling for their players to return from the African Nations Cup over security concerns.

The Arsenal manager will not be asking for Gunners duo Alex Song and Emmanuel Eboue to be called back following Friday's attack on the Togo bus.

Togo, captained by former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, have decided to pull out of the tournament after the gunmen opened fire just after the team had crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A host of Premier League clubs have players at the African continental championship.

Adebayor and the rest of the Togo team will be returning home, while Hull boss Phil Brown confirmed he wants his two players in Angola – Gabon striker Daniel Cousin and Nigeria midfielder Seyi Olofinjana – to come back to England.

Chelsea have four players – Ivory Coast duo Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, Ghana's Michael Essien and Nigeria's John Mikel Obi – in Angola, while relegation battlers Portsmouth have several squad members there.

Wenger questioned whether those teams minded to recall their players were motivated by selfishness rather than security issues.