Dozens arrested in disappearance of Tanzania billionaire

Authorities in Tanzania have made dozens of arrests in the case of a missing businessman, who’s also the youngest billionaire on the African continent.

Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian businessman and billionaire, was kidnapped Thursday. Photo by STR/EPA-EFE
Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian businessman and billionaire, was kidnapped Thursday. Photo by STR/EPA-EFE

Mohammed Dewji was abducted by gunmen Thursday in the city of Dar es Salaam. Investigators have not determined a motive.
Thursday, police arrested at least 30 people for questioning in the case, officials said.

Dewji, 43, is worth $1.5 billion and is described as the only billionaire in Tanzania. He’s the owner of METL, a pan-African conglomerate for textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils. His father founded the company, but he made it into an empire.

Dewji had a celebrity-like status in Tanzania and he’s well known among citizens for his business success and time in parliament. He’s also the primary shareholder in a Dar es Salaam-based football team, Simba.

Despite his prominent status, Dewji was rarely accompanied by security guards or bouncers and was often seen in public with friends or by himself. He was abducted in the wealthy Oysterbay neighborhood.

“Initial information indicates he was kidnapped by whites traveling in two vehicles,” regional governor Paul Makonda said. “This kind of incident is new here.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris