News 2008


Kenya unrest stalls rail traffic with Uganda

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI, Feb 4 (Reuters) - A private consortium managing the railway line between Kenya and Uganda said on Monday Kenya's post-election unrest had paralysed traffic, severing landlocked Uganda's trade lifeline to the port of Mombasa.

"RVR has suffered extensive losses following the wave of political protests occasioned by the post-election violence ... which we've assessed at more than 15 million (Kenyan) shillings ($210,500) per day," Roy Puffet, Rift Valley Railways' (RVR) managing director, told Reuters.

Unrest erupted in Kenya after President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election on Dec. 27. During the ensuing chaos, parts of the railway in Kenya leading to Uganda were vandalised, crippling services between the two countries.

The disruption has paralysed a large chunk of landlocked Uganda's imports and exports, especially to the port at Kenya's coastal city Mombasa.

Puffet told Reuters in an email that RVR had incurred a further cost of 20 million shillings to repair lines damaged during the protests in the capital Nairobi and western Kenya.

(Editing by Tony Austin)