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For other uses, see Arua (disambiguation).
Motto: Peace, Justice & Prudence
Arua is located in Uganda
Location in Uganda
Coordinates: 03°02′18″N 30°54′39″E / 3.03833°N 30.91083°E / 3.03833; 30.91083
Country Flag of Uganda.svg Uganda
Region Northern Uganda
Sub-region West Nile sub-region
District Arua District
 • Mayor Charles Asiki
Population (2014 Census)
 • Total 62,657[1]
Area code(s) 0476

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.[2] This location lies approximately 195 kilometres (121 mi), by road, west of Gulu, the largest town in Northern Uganda.[3] iThe coordinates of the town are:3°02'18.0"N, 30°54'39.0"E (Latitude:3.038325; Longitude:30.910825). [4] The first town plan for Arua was drawn by A.E. Weatherhead.


A view of Arua Hill

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.[5]

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,[6] as the YeiJuba 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
  • Gaa-Gaa
  • KK Transporters
  • Komatse
  • Nile Coach
  • Post Bus

Arua Airport is the second-busiest in Uganda behind Entebbe International Airport.

A branch of the Ugandan Railways was extended to Arua sometime after 1964[7] but there has been no passenger rail service in Uganda for many years.[8] Freight transport by rail to Arua is also unknown of nowadays.

The Vurra–Arua–Koboko–Oraba Road passes through town, in a south to north direction.[9]


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.[10] In August 2014, the national population census put Arua town's population at 62,657.[1]


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 :

Other business and educational activities
The West Nile Golf Club on Weatherhead Park Lane at sunrise. Behind are the telecom masts on Arua Hill.
Financial institutions

Branches of the following financial institutions are present in Arua :

Media in Arua
BTN TV and Nile FM studios in Anyafio Village, Arua Hill Division

BTN TV 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.[14] 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), BBC on 99.4 FM, Radio Maria on 90.5 FM plus a Congolese Christian station (mainly in French) on 90.0 FM.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b UBOS, . (27 August 2014). "The Population of The Regions of the Republic of Uganda And All Cities And Towns of More Than 15,000 Inhabitants". Quoting Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "Road Distance Between Kampala And Arua With Map". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Map Showing Arua And Gulu With Distance Marker". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Google (2 July 2015). "Location of Arua At Google Maps" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Drasimaku, Richard (29 September 2012). "Structural Plan for Barifa Forest Land Development Out". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  6. ^ BBC, . (14 November 2006). "Uganda's Booming Border Town". BBC News. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Nairobi Railway Museum". Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "Uganda Travel Advice and Advisories (Government of Canada)". Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  9. ^ USHMU, . (11 May 2012). "Use The Road for Making Wealth – President Urges West Nile People". Uganda State House Media Unit (USHMU). Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  10. ^ UBOS, . "Estimated Population of Arua In 2002, 2010 And 2011" (PDF). Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Mugabi, Frank (10 August 2009). "Toyota Goes to Arua". New Vision. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  12. ^ BOU, . "Currency Centers: Arua Curency Center". Bank of Uganda. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Okello, Felix (29 May 2008). "Uganda: South Sudan Changing Face of Arua Warom". Daily Monitor via Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Staff, Writer (28 March 2014). "Urban TV’s Faith Ariho Promoted?". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 03°02′18″N 30°54′39″E / 3.03833°N 30.91083°E / 3.03833; 30.91083