|Motto: Peace, Justice & Prudence|
|Sub-region||West Nile sub-region|
|• Mayor||Charles Asiki|
|Population (2011 Estimate)|
Arua is a town in Arua District, Northern Uganda. An important local commercial centre, it is a base for a large refugee population from Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is an aid distribution centre for those nations.
Arua is located approximately 440 kilometres (270 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, and the largest city in that country. This location lies approximately 195 kilometres (121 mi), by road, west of Gulu, the largest town in Northern Uganda. iThe coordinates of the town are:3°02'18.0"N, 30°54'39.0"E (Latitude:3.038325; Longitude:30.910825). The first town plan for Arua was drawn by A.E. Weatherhead.
The word Aru-a in Lugbara means 'In prison' and was the name colonialists used for a hill where prisoners were jailed (Arua Hill). Today, because of developments on the hill, this authentic heritage cannot be seen. Cattle graze on the hill and kickboxers also use it as a training ground. Arua Town, north of the hill from which it got its name, was established on 14 June 1914. The panoramic view of the area around Arua Town when you stand on top of this rock is amazing. There is a structural plan to develop a model eco-tourism satellite city in Arua after Barifa Forest is degazetted.
Arua was the capital of the former West Nile Province. However, with the breakup of the province in the 1970s into Arua, Nebbi and Moyo districts, Arua Town became the capital of Arua District. It was initially slotted as the proposed capital of Lado Enclave. A distinction should however be made between Arua and Arua District.
Arua is an important base for NGOs working in the West Nile sub-region or serving Western Equatoria in Southern Sudan or northeastern Congo DRC. It has become increasingly important as a commercial supply centre and transport route, as the Yei–Juba Road has opened up and supplies come into Juba from the south on the Kaya Highway rather than through Khartoum.
Coach buses link Arua to Kampala, a seven-hour journey on average today. In the past, departure time was at 5:30 AM before sunrise and it would take about 9 hours. But with the tarmacking of the main highway, coaches began leaving conveniently after dawn up to midnight. They include:
- ADIL Express
- California Bus
- KK Transporters
- Nile Coach
- Post Bus
A branch of the Ugandan Railways was extended to Arua sometime after 1964 but there has been no passenger rail service in Uganda for many years. Freight transport by rail to Arua is also unknown of nowadays.
The 2002 national census estimated the population of Arua Town at about 43,930. In 2010, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), estimated the population of the town to be about 57,500. In 2011, UBOS estimated the population of the town at approximately 59,400.
The dominant tribe in Arua District are the Lugbara, who are divided up into the different dialects of Vurra who come from Vurra County, Ayivu who are from Ayivu County (dialect also spoken in Maracha District), Terego from Terego County and Madi who are from Madi-Okollo County. The Madi from Madi-Okollo have a variant dialect from those in Moyo District and Adjumani District plus the Kakwa tribe who are from Koboko District.
- Administrative activities
The following administrations are seated in Arua :
- Headquarters of Arua District Administration
- Headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arua and Church of Uganda's Madi West Nile Diocese
- Offices of Arua Town Council
- Other business and educational activities
- A branch of Toyota Uganda Limited, a dealership in Toyota automobiles and Yamaha motorcycles.
- A campus of the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU)
- Arua Campus of Makerere University Business School (MUBS)
- Al-Ram Motors
- Arua Central Market
- Arua Currency Center - A currency storage and processing facility, owned and operated by the Bank of Uganda, Uganda's Central Bank.
- Arua Foam Mattresses Limited
- Arua Regional Referral Hospital - 128 bed public hospital administered by the Uganda Ministry of Health.
- Desert Breeze Hotel, Anyafio
- Malayika Enterprises (Uganda) Limited, on Nebbi Road in Kuluva Suburb
- Ragem Beach
- The Arua Campus of Uganda Christian University (UCU) in Ringili at St. Paul's Theological College
- The main campus of Muni University, the 6th public university established by the Government of Uganda
- The new "Arua Mall"
- Westnile Distilling Company Limited - maker of Adrikos 7 Hills Vodka
- West Nile Golf Club
- White Castle, Ewuata - 5 Kilometres away on Nebbi Road.
- Financial institutions
Branches of the following financial institutions are present in Arua :
- Bank of Africa
- Barclays Bank
- Centenary Bank
- Crane Bank
- DFCU Bank
- Diamond Trust Bank
- Finance Trust Bank
- Housing Finance Bank
- Kenya Commercial Bank
- PostBank Uganda
- Stanbic Bank
- CAFECC Microfinance Limited
- Pride Microfinance Limited
- National Social Security Fund
- Media in Arua
BTN TV (Bornfree Technologies Network) was the first Television broadcast station in Arua and West Nile that went on air in 2003. It features local news, talk shows plus a variety of music, lifestyle programmes, documentaries and movies. Other analog broadcasts (which originate from Kampala) include WBS TV, UBC TV and NTV. In early 2014, MBC 2 was aired in Arua as a test broadcast to pave way for Vision Group's Urban TV. The Ombaci Earth Satellite Station, set up in 1976 during Idi Amin's reign, is used for some of these broadcasts. Also available are digital satellite services from DStv/ GOtv, Startimes and others in Uganda's quest to beat the 2015 international digital migration deadline.
Voice of Life (VOL), a Church of Uganda-founded radio station pioneered FM broadcasting in Arua since 1997. In 2002, Arua One (which was acquired by Vision Group in 2012) followed as the first secular station based in the Municipality. Meanwhile, Radio Paidha, Spirit FM, BBS (Bunyoro Broadcasting Service) and TOP Radio were based in Nebbi, Koboko and Masindi respectively. Also on air today is Nile FM, a sister to BTN TV plus the Catholic Diocese of Arua's (2005 All Africa BBC Award-winning) Radio Pacis, UBC Radio (West Nile Channel) and BBC on 99.4 FM.
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- Staff, Writer (28 March 2014). "Urban TV’s Faith Ariho Promoted?". Bigeye.ug. Retrieved 2 June 2014.