Three persons who attempted to use a crane to steal a 10-ton statue of Pharaoh Ramses II have been detained by the Egyptian authorities.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Tuesday that it had “ordered the detention of three defendants for four days pending investigation,” accusing them of “attempting to steal a pharaonic statue” in the ancient southern city of Aswan, some 675 kilometres south of Cairo on the Nile.
According to the statement, police reported that “three people were arrested in possession of manual digging tools and heavy equipment, a crane,” which they had used in an attempt to “lift the statue and excavate the antiquities in the area.”
The Aswan Antiquities Authority proved “the antiquity (of the statue) and attributed it to Ramses II, with a weight of about 10 tons,” the statement added.
The prosecutor’s office ordered police to “promptly investigate others involved with the suspects in the crime.”
One of the 19th Dynasty’s most well-known pharaohs, Ramses II, ruled for 67 years. He was a renowned warrior and prolific builder who oversaw the erection of temples all around Egypt.
About 29,000 antiques that had been stolen and unlawfully exported have been found by Egypt in the last ten years.