According to news reports within the last hour, the buses carrying the Togo national football team were ambushed and machine-gunned in the Angolan province of Cabinda. Fortunately, the ambushers were dense enough to waste most of their fire on the front bus, which contained the luggage. The gunfire lasted for more than 15 minutes. The driver for the team was killed instantly; 2 players and several staff members were injured.
Africa. How do you steal the heart of every soul that sets foot on your shores, yet proceed to pierce those same hearts with endless and inexplicable pain?
As the Togo team tries to recover from their near-death experience, it is doubtful they will choose to stay in the tournament. The bigger questions still lie unanswered. Who are the culprits? What were their motives? Will there be more attacks on other teams? What does this mean for the Cup of Nations? What does this mean for Angola, a country similarly trying to recover from 4 decades of unharnessed violence?
The province of Cabinda is geographically disconnected from the rest of the country, an enclave within the two Congos. Because of its immense wealth in oil, there has been a low-level rebel movement in Cabinda for decades. Yes, that’s a miniature civil war that has been eclipsed by the larger civil war that ravaged the country. Now that peace has “broken out” in the rest of the country, the government has turned its military focus to Cabinda. But as today’s tragedy demonstrates, the solution is probably less than simple.
Africa. Your scars run deep, your pain ever seething.
God. May your grace reach deep into the heart of Africa, deeper even than its scars.