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Africa's youngest billionaire kidnapped in Tanzania

Posted October. 17, 2018 07:54,   

Updated October. 17, 2018 07:54


A missing Tanzanian businessman in his 40s has made the headlines across Africa. Even a week after he was abducted by unidentified men, no one has figured out his whereabouts. The police have not had any clue about the incident with no claims made for the responsibility for the abduction. In search of the missing businessman, his family has put a large amount of rewards on the incident.

Such enormous attention across the African media is paid to the abduction because the abductee is the youngest billionaire in Africa, Mohammed Dewji, 43.

The richest Tanzanian business leader owns MeTL Group doing business in various fields such as trading, manufacturing, insurance, real estate and logistics. Reportedly, he owns 1.5 billion U.S. dollars or 1.7 trillion won. The Forbes selected him as the most influential figure in Africa in 2015.

Since he was missing, the Tanzanian police have made a vain effort to unravel a mysterious incident. The Tanzanian government even mobilized intelligence forces to find out his trace, but to no avail. It has only been reported that the suspects are English-speaking white men. MeTL Group accounts for three percent of the country’s GDP, which makes it all the more urgent for the government to address the incident.

According to eye-witnesses including hotel security guards, the situation was playing out as if it were a moment of suspense and urgency in an action movie. They said it must have been premeditated so meticulously that it only took 20 seconds to kidnap him. Dewji was kidnapped early in the morning on Oct. 11 at a hotel parking lot, located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He used to drive on his own to work out at a gym. On the day that he was missing, he was on his way out from a gym. One of witnesses said that two vehicles were waiting on stand-by outside the hotel parking lot and they were exchanging signals. The suspects, armed with guns, pushed him into their vehicle while shooting the gun in the air until they left the hotel area.

Dewji has gained a lot of popularity and recognition as a man of noblesse oblige. He won 90 percent of the votes in the National General Election in December 2005, serving as a lawmaker between 2005 and 2015. He is known as a philanthropist who established a social welfare foundation named after him, helping Tanzanian poor people with education and social services. Last year, he announced to donate half his wealth to society, resonating with the public.

Dong-Il Seo dong@donga.com