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Africa's youngest billionaire was kidnapped by masked gunmen on his way to the gym

Jacob Shamsian
  • Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji was kidnapped on his way to the gym Thursday.
  • Local authorities say they have arrested three people in connection with the kidnapping.
  • Motives for the abduction are still unclear.

Mohammed Dewji - the 43-year-old billionaire, former politician, and local celebrity - was kidnapped Thursday in Tanzania's main city of Dar es Salaam, according to the BBC.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the abduction, and police believe the kidnappers are foreign nationals.

Dewji was abducted outside the hotel gym where he was going for his routine morning workout. Local authorities told CNN they accessed the gym through gates that were left open deliberately so they could enter.

Dar es Salaam regional police commissioner Lazaro Mambosaso told CNN the kidnappers opened fire before taking Dewji away.

"They came in a car to the hotel and started shooting in the air before they took him away," he said. We are questioning the staff who were on duty at the time."

The motives for Dewji's kidnapping are not clear.

Dewji is the owner of the sprawling business conglomerate MeTL. He's worth $US1.5 billion, according to Forbes, making him Africa's youngest billionaire. Before leading MeTL, he served as a member in Tanzania's parliament from 2005 to 2015.

Politicians and government critics have been kidnapped in Tanzania before, but this is the first time a businessman as prominent as Dewji has been the victim of an abduction.

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