A senior police chief in the city of Dar es Salaam has confirmed reports that Mohammed Dewji, a prominent businessman and former politician popularly known as Mo, Africa’s youngest billionaire has been kidnapped by armed gunmen.
They snatched him from the street in Tanzania’s capital city, Dar es Salaam.
He was hustled into a car outside an expensive hotel gym by several armed men.
The 43-year-old’s estimated wealth was at $1.5bn (£980m) in 2017 according to Forbes magazine, which also said it made him the continent’s youngest billionaire.
Mr Dewji was not travelling with any bodyguards or private security, Despite his high profile and immense wealth, the Dar es Salaam regional police commissioner Paul Makonda said.
Witnesses reported that one of the gunmen shot into the air before dragging the victim out of the hotel where he had just finished his morning workout routine.
An Uber driver who was waiting outside the Colosseum Hotel in Dar es Salaam’s upmarket Oyster Bay neighborhood told the local Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen that four men, wearing masks and carrying guns, carry out the abduction in front of him.
“I was about to drop my passenger at the hotel when suddenly I saw four masked individuals standing close to the hotel. They fired one bullet in the air [and] all the hotel security guards ran away,” he stated.
Another Dar es Salaam police chief, Lazaro Mambosasa, said that a search was under way for the kidnappers and Mr Dewji, and police officers across Tanzania were on high alert.
He also appealed for members of the public with any information to come forward immediately.