Train services between land-locked Burkina Faso and the Ivorian port of Abidjan resumed at the weekend after being interrupted for 12 months by the outbreak of civil war in Cote d’Ivoire. The border between the two countries was officially reopened to road traffic on 10 September, but the first freight train from Abidjan only reached the southeastern town of Bobo Dioulasso on Sunday. Burkina Faso has traditionally relied on the 1,150 km long rail link from Abidjan to Ouagadougou to carry most of its external trade. The railway line is also used by its landlocked neighbours Niger and Mali to import fuel. However, train services were interrupted on 19 September last year when a failed coup in Cote d’Ivoire degenerated into a civil war which left rebel forces holding the northern half of the country. That forced all three countries to intensify their use of road transport to other West African ports, notably Sekondi/Takoradi in Ghana, Lome in Togo, Cotonou in Benin, Conakry in Guinea and Dakar in Senegal. The signing of a peace agreement in Cote d’Ivoire on 24 January led to the resumption of road and rail traffic between the government and rebel-held areas of Cote d’Ivoire a few months later. Full Story
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