Police in in Tanzania have reportedly said that Africa’s youngest billionaire, Mohammed Dewji, 40, who was kidnapped in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, had no security detail with him when he was abducted.
Dewji was kidnapped on Thursday morning by gunmen in Tanzania’s economic capital, AFP reported.
Dewji headed the MeTL Group which operated in at least 10 countries with interests in agriculture to insurance, transport, logistics and the food industry.
He was snatched as he entered the gym of a hotel in the city.
“Initial information indicates he was kidnapped by whites travelling in two vehicles,” regional governor Paul Makonda told journalists, adding that “this kind of incident is new here”.
According to BBC, police said that Dewji “had no security detail with him and drove to the gym on his own”.
Member of parliament
One of Dewji’s employees, Caroline Lewis, said that Dewji had huge celebrity status in the country.
“You would be hard pressed to find a person in Dar es Salaam who did not know of Mohammed or the Dewji family and he would often draw large crowds at public events.
“But despite his wealth and celebrity he is always incredibly relaxed in his approach to security, like the rest of the Dewji family,” BBC quoted Lewis as saying.
Dewji was born in Tanzania and studied at Georgetown University in the United States. He also served as a member of parliament from 2005 to 2015.
In 2013 he became the first Tanzanian to grace the cover of Forbes magazine, and was in 2015 named Forbes Africa Person of the Year.
Dewji is also the main shareholder in Tanzania’s Simba FC football club.