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It will cost Tijuana about $20,000 to repair a severely damaged statue honoring an indigenous Baja California tribe, according to the city's assistant director of urban maintenance.

The bronze statue dedicated to the Kumeyaay tribe was erected in October 2001 at the intersection of Centenario and Cuauhtémoc avenues in the city's Zona Río neighborhood.

The tribe of hunters and gatherers once populated an area from present-day Escondido in California to Ensenada in Baja California. The statue, entitled Monumento a dos mujeres Kumiai (“monument to two Kumeyaay women”) originally featured two indigenous women sitting next to a standing Kumeyaay man, but on April 20 of this year, vandals cut off the man at the ankles and made off with his body, leaving behind the sitting women.

At the time, city historical leaders pleaded for the return of the Kumeyaay man and begged the thieves not to have the bronze melted down for money, noting that the statue was part of Tijuana's cultural heritage. The missing man has never been returned and a state investigation into the vandalism and theft continues.

In an interview published on July 28 in El Sol de Tijuana, Juan Enrique Bautista, assistant director of urban maintenance for the city, said a bid of $20,000 had been received for "an exact replica" of the missing part of the statue.

The bid awaits approval by the city's treasury and finance department, Bautista said, but it may not come in time for the upcoming change in municipal administrations following the July elections. In the meantime, he said, additional bids may still come in, in which case the project would be left for the next administration to handle.

Bautista told El Sol that the city currently spends between 200,000 and 400,000 pesos a year (about $15,400 to $30,900) to repair damages to municipal fountains "and other public spaces."

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