Published: Thu, October 11, 2018

Mohammed Dewji kidnapped in Tanzania

Mohammed Dewji kidnapped in Tanzania

Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa also implicated foreigners in the crime, telling a press conference the assailants had "shot into the air" before bustling Dewji into their auto.

Police have launched a manhunt into circumstances that led to the abduction of Mr Dewji who ranks as one of the richest Tanzanians at Colosseum Hotel as he walked into a gym.

The motive for the kidnapping is still unknown, although police expect this to be a "ransom" kidnapping.

Dewji is the owner and president of the multi-billion dollar revenue Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Ltd (METL Group) and a former member of parliament for the ruling CCM party.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the incident and two of the abductors were believed to be foreign nationals, police added.

Dewji is also a major sponsor of Tanzania soccer team Simba SC and served two terms in Tanzania's parliament, retiring in early 2015.

In 2013, he became the first Tanzanian to be on the cover of Forbes magazine, and was named Forbes Africa person of the year in 2015.

The kidnappers fired shots in the air before driving away with the billionaire, eyewitnesses said. "We are questioning the staff who were on duty at the time", the commissioner said.

They then pulled him into their vehicle and sped off while shooting in the air.

A nationwide hunt is under way for Mr Dewji, estimated to be worth $1.5 billion, and road blocks have been set up in the area, police commander Lazaro Mambosasa said.

Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda cautioned the public against speculation.

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