The rail connecting the oil port city of Pointe Noire and Brazzaville in the Congo Republic resumed service on Wednesday two years after the interruption of traffic. But authorities say passenger traffic will resume early December.
Two locomotives pulling eleven tanks of petroleum products, along with soldiers and police aboard, entered Brazzaville station on Wednesday marking the 58th anniversary of the Republic.
“It was very hard, this recovery for us can only be a sign of rejoicing, especially as we spent two years unemployed. It’s a good thing for the Republic, to allow our Pool brothers to sell their goods and then fight effectively against the problems of recurrent fuel shortages’‘, said train driver Edwin Missié.
Traffic was suspended in mid-2016 between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire because of fights in the Pool region between the regular forces and rebels of Pastor Ntumi.
A peace agreement was made public on December 23rd. The government said rehabilitation of three bridges damaged by the conflict cost more than 1.6 million euros.
Congolese Transport Minister, Fidèle Dimou told reporters “a freight train has arrived in Brazzaville, it’s a sense of accomplishment, we have worked and we have achieved our goal.”
He said “it is a great pleasure for us, the railway is really the backbone of our economy and for two years, the working people have suffered because they could no longer sell their products where the train passes.”
Because the rail has not been operational for the last two years, Brazzaville has been experiencing recurrent fuel shortages.