Africa's Youngest Billionaire Freed as Police Pursue Kidnappers

(Bloomberg) -- A Tanzanian billionaire industrialist who was abducted about nine days ago was released unharmed, as police said they’re hunting for the perpetrators of the crime that threatened to spook investors in East Africa’s second-largest economy.

Africa's Youngest Billionaire Freed as Police Pursue Kidnappers

Mohammed Dewji, listed by Forbes as Africa’s youngest billionaire with a net worth of $1.5 billion, was dropped off in an area of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s main city, by his kidnappers, police Inspector General Simon Sirro said Saturday.

The Mo Dewji Foundation, a charity established by the billionaire, announced his release early Saturday. In a Twitter post, it quoted Dewji thanking “the authorities of Tanzania, including the police force for working for my safe return.”

The 43-year-old was seized by unidentified people in the Tanzanian commercial hub of Dar es Salaam on Oct. 11. It was the latest worrying turn for Tanzania, once described as an “island of peace” in a turbulent region, but that has seen a recent spate of politically motivated violence.

Major Company

Dewji owns MeTL Group, a conglomerate operating in several African countries and contributing about 3.5 percent to Tanzania’s gross domestic product, according to its website. There was no publicly announced demand for ransom; Dewji’s family offered almost $500,000 as a reward for information that led to his rescue.

Sirro said Saturday that an AK-47 rifle and three pistols were found in a car that was used by three kidnappers, two of whom spoke English and the other Swahili. The police are in pursuit of the men and hopeful they’ll be arrested, he said, adding that Tanzania remains safe for investors.

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