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On Angola’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on the eastern bank of the Luau River, the 1,348km Caminho de Ferro de Benguela (CFB) railway line — which was meant to be revived in a huge Angolan project — ends in a tangle of rusted rails and weeds. "No pictures allowed here. It is a strategic point of infrastructure," the commander of the border police unit of the motor bridge over the river tells the Financial Mail. The bridge was blown up in 1978 by Mobutu Sese Seko to stop an Angolan-backed secession of Katanga from the then Zaire. It has since been rebuilt as a two-span military emergency bridge. It cannot carry more than 40t — less than a standard 50t military tank. The CFB railway line from the Atlantic to Luau ends at two monuments: one dedicated to Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos and his Zambian and DRC counterparts at its reopening in February 2015; the other to Sir Robert Williams, the Scottish engineer who built the first rail link between Lobi...

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