DAR ES SALAAM— The man described as Africa’s youngest billionaire said Saturday he is free more than a week after his abduction from a luxury hotel in Tanzania’s commercial capital, while police suggested his captors came from South Africa.
“I thank Allah that I have returned home safely,” said a statement released by the 43-year-old Mohammed Dewji’s foundation. It did not give details about the Oct. 11 abduction or what led to his release but thanked the police for working for his safe return.
According to African News (AP), Dar es Salaam Regional Police Chief Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed the release and said authorities continue to investigate. There was no mention of a ransom being paid.
“We got information that the abductors used the same car that was used to seize him at the Colosseum Hotel and dumped him at gymkhana (sports facility) grounds,” Mambosasa said. “We found him there physically fit, and we suspect that the abductors are South Africans because he said they were communicating in one of the vernacular from that country,” he was quoted by African News.
Environment Minister January Makamba, in a statement posted on Twitter, said he had spoken with Dewji and “he’s usual Mo. So he is okay.”
“Mohammed Dewji [billionaire] @moodewji is now back home safely. I have just spoken to him and his father 20 minutes ago. In his voice, he’s usual Mo. So he is okay. Thank you all for your prayers. God is really great. Going to see him now,” Minister Makamba twitted.
Dewji, while arriving at the hotel for a workout, had been seized by two masked gunmen who fired into the air before driving away. Regional authorities said two white men were seen on surveillance video and quickly tightened controls at border posts and airports.
Forbes magazine in 2016 put Dewji’s wealth at $1.5 billion.