Police officials and a security expert have revealed possible South African links to the kidnapping of Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji, who was released unharmed on Saturday.
Dewji, 43, who heads the MeTL Group and has been dubbed Africa's youngest billionaire, was seized by gunmen as he entered a hotel gym in Dar es Salaam last Thursday.
Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa said Dewji had indicated that his kidnappers spoke a "Southern African language", confirming suspicions that they were foreigners, Al Jazeera reported.
According to AFP, Tanzania national police chief Simon Sirro said at a press conference: "Mohammed Dewji told us that the kidnappers wanted money but were very afraid, even though they were armed. He asked them several times how much they wanted but they gave no figure".
"We now know their network, we know which country the plans were made," he reportedly said, without expanding futher.
Ryan Cummings, director of African risk management company Signal Risk, weighed in on the kidnapping.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, he said: "This is very interesting. Firstly, it was confirmed that those who seized Dewji were 'Caucasion', now he claims that they were South African? White South African males involved in armed operations on the African continent tends to usually imply one thing and one thing only.... Guns for hire; could be former SANDF guys who are now selling their expertise to the highest bidder."
Bloomberg reported police as saying that an AK-47 rifle and three pistols were found in the vehicle used by three kidnappers, of whom two spoke English and the other Swahili.