DAR ES SALAAM / NAIROBI (Reuters) – Africa's youngest billionaire, snatched from a street in front of a luxury hotel in Tanzania a week ago, has returned home unscathed after being released by his kidnappers, police said Saturday.
Mohammed Dewji, 43-year-old CEO of the METL Group family company, was confiscated last week when he came to a morning workout in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. Forbes estimates his net worth at $ 1.5 billion. He is the 17th richest man in Africa and the youngest billionaire.
Lazaro Mambosasa, the police commander of Dar es Salaam, told Reuters that Dewji was left at 2:30 local time by his kidnappers in the city's Gymkhana area.
Dewji was held in a house in an area where the police wanted to conduct a house-to-house search, he said.
"He was tied to legs, hands and face so he could not see, he could not identify the kidnappers throughout the imprisonment," Mambosasa said. He only had bruises on his hands and feet, where they were tied up.
"He told us that they treated him very well and gave him food," he said.
Dewji's family offered a reward of 1
At a press conference, Police Inspector General Simon Sirro said that Dewji had told them that the suspects had spoken in English and "broken Swahili" and a vehicle they had traveled with had foreign registration.
"The good news is that we communicate regularly with our colleagues at Interpol," he told reporters.
Four weapons, including an assault rifle and numerous bullets, were found in the car, which was partially damaged in a botched attempt to destroy evidence, Sirro said.
On his Twitter feed, the METL Group quoted Dewji as saying he had "returned home safely" without giving any details about how he was released or released from his kidnappers.
The company also cited him among those who had worked for his release, including the police.
His kidnapping had led to dismay in the East African nation, as he was one of his most prominent business executives and had been a member of parliament in the past.
The METL Group operates in 11 African countries in a variety of manufacturing, agricultural, transportation, infrastructure, agroprocessing and telecommunications companies.
Letter from Duncan Miriri; Editing by Aaron Maasho. Edited by Richard Balmforth