Dar es Salam, Oct 13: Tanzanian police have launched manhunt to find Mohammed Dewji, the country's lone billionaire businessman and former member of Parliament, who was kidnapped by masked gunmen in the nation's commercial capital on Thursday.
The Indian-origin Dewji, 43, is the owner and chief executive of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Ltd. (METL). He was entering a gym in upscale Colosseum Hotel in a Dar es Salam suburb for his regular morning workout when gunmen abducted him off the street. Dewji was abducted by two foreigners, the Swahili Times reported on Twitter, quoting Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa.
The motive behind the kidnapping is still not known. Police thinks this could be a "ransom" kidnapping and has arrested 30 people for questioning. Eyewitnesses told the local media that unknown men arrived in two vehicles and parked at the hotel before Dewji got there. taxi driver said that when Dewji appeared, the car parked inside flashed lights before the two white men alighted and seized him. The gang then fired in the air and sped off.
Also known as "Mo", Dewji is Tanzania's only billionaire, with a net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes Magazine said to be Africa's youngest billionaire. The METL Group is Tanzania's largest home-grown company, worth more than $1 billion with a presence in 11 countries in Africa, according to its website. It accounts for about 3.5 per cent of the country’s GDP. It has businesses ranging from manufacturing to logistics. Dewji's kidnapping has sent shock waves across the country and also East Africa, as he is one of the leading forces in regional trade and business development.
The Dewji family is part of an Indian origin people in Tanzania who left Gujarat, in the late 1800s to become traders in East Africa. METL Group began in the early 1970s as a small trading business by Dewji's father. (UNI)