Togo player heads back to UAE

Yao Junior Sènaya, who plays for Sharjah-based Dibbe al Hisn, is expected to return to the Emirates tomorrow after Togo withdraw from the African Cup of Nations.

Matilda Sènaya, the wife of the Togolese footballer Yao Junior Sènaya, pleaded for her husband to return to the UAE as a bus carrying his national team was sprayed with gunfire in Angola on Friday. Mr Sènaya, 25, a midfielder with the Sharjah-based Dibbe al Hisn, was in the region to compete in the African Cup of Nations. He was aboard the bus when a group of separatist militants opened fire in the province of Cabinda, killing three people and injuring seven.

Mrs Sènaya received a call from her husband while the sustained attack was taking place. "I told him to come home because I am scared for his life," she said. "He went there to play football; this should not be happening." The attack was claimed by the Front for the Liberation of the State of Cabinda - Military Position (Flec-MP). Speaking from exile in France, Rodrigues Mingas, Flec-MP's secretary general, said the attack had been aimed at security personnel accompanying the Togolese team.

He said he deplored the civilian deaths and that his movement was approaching the Togolese authorities to offer its apologies for them. However, Mr Mingas warned there would be more incidents during the tournament. "We have planned other actions across the territory," he said. "The country is at war and anything can happen." Mr Sènaya, who escaped the attack unharmed, is expected to return to the Emirates tomorrow after Togo announced their withdrawal from the competition.

* The National