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EU to help repair Uganda railway with $25 million

Staff Writer |
The European Union will give 21.5 million euros ($25 million) to repair a Ugandan railway line that fell into disuse a quarter-century ago during a brutal insurgency in the north by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

Reopening the 375-kilometer (233-mile) line from Tororo, near Uganda’s eastern border with Kenya, to the northern city of Gulu, will cut transport costs and attract investment, the EU’s local office said in a statement.

The line has been out of service since 1993 and will cost 34.6 million euros total to repair, with Ugandan authorities targeting a restart of transport in 2020.

“Northern Uganda has a very limited private sector and until it significantly develops, the region will continue to lag behind the rest of the country,” the EU said. “Inadequate road and rail transport infrastructure is a main constraint to business and trade.”

Uganda’s north bore the brunt of a two-decade insurgency by the LRA, a rebel group led by local warlord Kony that’s notorious for its use of kidnapping and sexual slavery.

The United Nations says his fighters, who were forced out of Uganda in about 2006, are responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 people in central and eastern African since the late 1980s. Kony is still at large.

Rehabilitating the railway line will also help the East African nation’s neighbors South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, who import goods through Uganda, the EU said.

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