12 October 2018

Tanzania: Nation Seeks Answers After Mo Dewji Abduction

Photo: Mo Dewji/Twitter
Tanzanian police have arrested 30 people as investigations into the kidnapping of billionaire Mohammed Dewji Thursday continues.

Dar es Salaam — Tanzanians from across different walks of life were begging for answers over the reasons and people behind the abduction of dollar billionaire Mohammed Dewji "Mo", whose whereabouts remained unknown by the time of filing this report.

Government authorities announced a manhunt was ongoing for suspected gunmen who abducted the 43-year-old businessman yesterday morning as he went to a gym for his routine exercising.

The incident which sent shock waves across the country and attracted varied reactions on social media platforms left many unanswered questions and revived the debate about the shadowy group of "unknown people" who have in the recent past been blamed for cases of unexplained kidnaps of individuals.

Mo, who has about $2 billion fortune through a wide range of businesses, according to Forbes, was abducted at dawn as he walked into the gym at Colosseum Hotel.

The hotel is located in one of Dar es Salaam's best guarded suburbs and boasts homes of top government VIPs and retired high profile figures.

Despite his immense wealth and high profile, Mo has portrayed himself as a down to earth and easy going man who mingled freely with the public. As it was yesterday when he was waylaid by the suspects, the businessman was driving alone without any bodyguards.

Conflicting statements from the scene of the incident fuelled speculations as to the real identity or even motive of the kidnap, with a cross section of political leaders and ordinary citizens calling for swift investigations over the matter. They urged that no effort be spared to find the businessman alive.

Dar es Salaam special police zone commander Lazaro Mambosasa said last evening 12 people were being held as investigations continued but it was his morning explanation of the identity of suspects that was the talking point by those who sought answers to the puzzle.

Mr Mambosasa told reporters at the scene that two white men had whisked Mo into a waiting car and sped off towards Masaki area but an Uber driver who was at the scene said Mo was abducted by four masked individuals who started by dispersing the hotel security personnel by firing a bullet into the air. They then went inside the gym to pick the man who he identified to be Mo. Mr Mambosasa's assistant would later add to the twist by telling journalists on phone that the businessman had been found, only for his statement to be denied by Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda.

Last night Mo's family had not issued any statement about the kidnap. Police had also not issued any clues as to reasons behind the kidnapping. The identities of those being held were also not immediately revealed.

Mo's distraught father, Mr Gulam Hussein Dewji, referred all media queries to the police.

With no answers to who Mo's abductors are and the reasons behind the kidnapping, Tanzanians took their anger to twitter, expressing both shock and dismay over the news seen by many as a continuation of what had already been taking place in the country in the recent past. The #TOT seized the incident of the abduction of Africa's youngest billionaire on Forbes' rankings to remind both the public and the State that his abduction was by no means an isolated case.

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