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Buddhists give up on lost statue

BABOKI KAYAWE
The whereabouts of the statue remain a mystery
The Buddhist community is giving up hope of ever finding their precious 500-kilogrammes Buddha statue, which was stolen at the Gaborone North temple four months ago.

The statue was stolen mid-July when thieves broke into the temple and somehow loaded and drove away with the statue valued at P250,000.

The theft occurred at a sensitive time as Botswana and China were engaged in a heated diplomatic spat over government’s decision to open borders to Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama, a Buddhist leader and icon, has been blacklisted by China, which accuses him of pushing a separatist agenda in the Tibetan region of the Asian giant. 

The trip failed to materialise after the Dalai Lama pulled out, citing ill-health. Dr Ava Avalos of the local Buddhist community, who in July described the theft to Mmegi  as “highly suspicious and very unfortunate”, yesterday said no progress has been made.

“The Buddha was never found. So

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sad,” Avalos said. 

According to the Botswana Buddhist Association, the statue was a 1996 gift from the people of Thailand and was painted in gold. 

At the time the community had no leads, but police investigations were said to be steaming ahead.

Yesterday, Botswana Police Service assistant public relations officer, Selinah Omphile said the investigation has encountered good leads, but no breakthrough.

“There have been leads yes, but they didn’t produce any fruitful results,” said Omphile.

“The case is still alive and investigations will continue.”

The missing statue was one of the two big Buddha statues that were kept at the Gaborone North temple.

According to the association’s website, the first one was received on June 29, 1992 and it was made by the Ven Vipulasara of Ratmalana temple in Sri Lanka.



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