Africa’s youngest billionaire Mohammed Dewji was abducted Thursday by armed gunmen from a hotel in Dar es Salaam.
Dewji, 43, was abducted outside a swanky hotel gym where he was going for his routine morning workout.
Three people have been arrested in connection with the incident and two of the abductors were believed to be foreign nationals, police added.
According to mwananchi.co.tz, the youthful tycoon was kidnapped at around 5am from Collessium Hotel as he worked out in a gym.
The abduction took place in the affluent neighbourhood of Oysterbay.
Mwananchi.co.tz quoted an Uber driver who said he witnessed the dawn kidnapping.
The eye witness say kidnappers shot in the air once to scare people away before whisking away Dewji to a waiting car, which sped towards Masaki.
“We were approaching the area when we saw four people alighting from a saloon car. Their faces were masked. They shot in the air once and the hotel’s security guards scampered for safety,” the driver said. “They then got into the hotel and came out with someone whom I identified as Mohammed.”
Security personnel across Tanzania have been put on high alert in the hunt for the abductors, police said.
According to Forbes, Dewji has an estimated net worth of US$1.54 billion (KSh154 billion), and is the 17th richest person in Africa.
Dewji was the first Tanzanian to be featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine in 2013 and has been featured on three separate occasions.
He is the president and owner of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s. He is also a shareholder in the famous Simba Club in Dar es Salaam.
Although Tanzania has seen a wave attacks and abductions of opposition politicians and perceived government critics, this is the first time a businessman of Mr Dewji’s standing has been kidnapped in the country.
Businessmen have never felt at risk of being kidnapped and they often move around on their own. Some may have chauffeurs, but not bodyguards. So Mr Dewji’s abduction has come as a huge shock.