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Wau, South Sudan

Wau is a city in northwestern South Sudan, on the western bank of the Jur River, in Wau County, Western Bahr el Ghazal State. It lies approximately 650 kilometers (400 mi), northwest of Juba, the capital and largest city in that country

Wau was initially established as a zariba (fortified base) by slave traders in the 19th century. During the time of condominium rule, the city became an administrative center.

Burr and Collins in 1994 described Wau as follows:

No one has ever been “at home” in Wau. Situated on the fringe of the Dinka country, it is surrounded by a host of disorganized and diverse peoples . . . It was and remains a town belonging to no single ethnic group, deriving its importance only from its position as a commercial and administrative center . . . Located in the midst of the vast Nilotic plain hundreds of miles from nowhere, it was miserable under the best of circumstances . . .

During the Second Sudanese Civil War, it was a garrison town of the Khartoum-based Sudanese Armed Forces and was the scene of extensive fighting in the spring of 1998. Battles erupted again in the town in the spring of 2007, killing several hundred people.

The city of Wau is the headquarters of Wau County, in which it lies. It also serves as the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, one of the ten states which constitute the Republic of South Sudan. The city is a culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse urban center. Its residents include people of Fertit, Dinka, Luo, and Arab ethnicity.

In 2008, Wau was the third-largest city in South Sudan, by population, behind Juba the capital, and Malakal, in Upper Nile State. At that time, the estimated population of the city of Wau was about 128,100 In 2011, the city's population was estimated at about 151,320.

Wau is the terminus of a narrow gauge branch line of the Sudan Railways. A plan exists, as of 2008, to open a standard gauge line north from Gulu in Uganda to Wau. Trains from Khartoum to Mombasa would be possible only if one of the lines was re-gauged.

A Train Traveling towards Wau:

Wau Airport - The airport, (IATA: WUU, ICAO: HSWW) has a single paved runway that measures 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) in length.
The city hosts the University of Bahr El-Ghazal and many secondary and primary schools.
The Catholic University of South Sudan maintains a campus in the city. Wau Stadium - A soccer stadium in the middle of town
The Cathedral in Wau is known as the Largest of former Sudan
There are five (5) main roads out of town:
B38-North leads directly north to Gogrial, South Sudan
B43-South leads southeast to Tonj, South Sudan
A44-South leads directly south to Tumbura, South Sudan
B41-West leads west to Raga, South Sudan
B43-North leads northwest to Aweil, South Sudan
Southern National Park - Located about 100 kilometers (62 mi), by road, south of Wau along A44-South
Wau is a vibrant economic center in the newly established Republic of South Sudan.

The major contributors to the local economy include:

Buffalo Commercial Bank branch
Equity Bank (South Sudan)[8] branch
Ivory Bank branch
Kenya Commercial Bank (South Sudan) branch[9]
Catholic University of South Sudan, Wau campus
University of Bahr El-Ghazal
Wau Airport
Wau County Government
Western Bahr el Ghazal State Government
RCS - Radio & Satellite Communication
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (South Sudan Subsidiary Comp.) expected shortly
Wau has two seasons: a dry season from November to March, and a rainy season the rest of the year

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