'Shock' as African Billionaire Is Kidnapped

Mohammed Dewji vowed to donate half his $1.5B to charity
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2018 8:57 AM CDT
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Mohammed Dewji   (Wikimedia/Gonzalezbarbara)

(Newser) – A man reported to be Tanzania's only billionaire and the youngest one in Africa has been kidnapped in what the BBC is calling a "huge shock." Mohammed Dewji was seized by masked gunmen Thursday morning as he entered a hotel gym in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam, considered to be very safe. It's the sixth abduction of a billionaire in Africa this year, but the first in Tanzania, reports the Citizen. "This kind of incident is new here," regional commissioner Paul Makonda says, per the AFP, adding "initial information indicates he was kidnapped by whites travelling in two vehicles."

Three people have been arrested, though police are on the lookout for more abductors, said to have fired shots into the air before driving off with the 43-year-old father of three, who was without bodyguards. A former employee says Dewji has "always been incredibly relaxed in his approach to security" despite huge fame, per the BBC. He transformed his family's retail business MeTL into a company with diverse interests in some 10 countries, reports the AFP. A former legislator who attended Georgetown University, Dewji previously vowed to donate half his fortune to charity; Forbes puts his worth at $1.5 billion.

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