The Congo-Ocean railway ( CFCO ) linking the oil port of Pointe Noire and Brazzaville resumed service Wednesday with the arrival of a freight train in Brazzaville station, two years after the interruption of traffic,.
Two locomotives pulling eleven tank wagons of petroleum products, with soldiers and gendarmes aboard, entered Brazzaville station on this holiday marking the 58th anniversary of the Republic.
The passenger traffic is to resume in early December, according to the authorities, on this vital economic axis of 500 kilometers. Traffic was suspended since mid-2016 between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire because of fighting in the Pool region between the regular forces and the rebels of Pastor Ntumi.
A peace agreement was made public on December 23rd. The government announced that the rehabilitation of three bridges damaged by the conflict cost 1.1 billion FCFA (more than 1.6 million euros).
“A freight train has arrived in Brazzaville. It is the feeling of a duty accomplished. We have worked and achieved our goal, “Congolese transport minister Fidèle Dimou told reporters.
“It’s a great pleasure for us. The railroad is really the backbone of our economy and for two years, where the train passes, the working people have suffered because they could not sell their production, “Dimou said.
“This resumption of traffic can only be a sign of rejoicing for us (railway workers) especially since we spent two years of technical unemployment,” said for his part AFP Edwin Missie, train driver.
The CFCO works were destroyed in the Pool (south), a region near Brazzaville during the conflict that displaced 138,000 people according to humanitarian sources.
Due to the stoppage of traffic on this axis, Brazzaville was experiencing recurrent fuel shortages.
The CFCO was built between 1921 and 1934 by the French colonial authorities, with a large number of workers from the former French Equatorial Africa ( AEF , Chad, Gabon …). Thousands of them died.