Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji was reportedly abducted from a Dar es Salaam hotel in less than a minute.
Dewji, 43, listed by Forbes as Africa’s youngest billionaire, was abducted at 5 am on Thursday as he entered a hotel gym in Tanzania’s economic capital.
Reports from the hotel indicate that it took between 20 and 30 seconds for the gunmen to abduct Mr Dewji at the parking lot and bundle him into their vehicle before speeding away.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to Tanzanian publication The Citizen, said that there were three abductors, but only two alighted from the getaway vehicle to seize Mr Dewji.
According to police, the abductors had two vehicles which were involved in the incident; one was parked outside the hotel premises and the other in the parking lot.
“When Mr Dewji’s vehicle arrived at the scene, the occupants of the vehicle which was parked inside switched on its headlights to alert their accomplices who were outside, who then drove inside and parked their car next to Mr Dewji’s. They alighted, grabbed him before bundling him into their car,” police said.
After the abducting Mr Dewji, the gunmen fired in the air before leaving the hotel premises using another exit gate, which was earlier shut.
Eyewitnesses said all the abductors wore masks and spoke English.
Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander Lazaro Mambosasa said the number of people arrested in connection with the disappearance of Mr Dewji has reached 26.
Meanwhile, the family of Mohammed Dewji has announced a cash reward of a billion Tanzanian shillings ($437,000/376,000 euros) for information on his whereabouts.
Mo Dewji is the chief executive of the MeTL Group, which operates in some 10 countries and has interests in agriculture, insurance, transport, logistics and the food industry.
According to Forbes, he is worth US$1.5 billion and ranks 17th on the list of African billionaires.
He served as a member of Parliament between 2005-2015, and in 2013, he became the first Tanzanian to grace the cover of Forbes magazine.
Two years later, he was named Forbes’ Africa Person of the Year.
Mr Dewji is also the main shareholder in Tanzania’s Simba FC football club.