October 15: Family offers reward
Mohammed Dewji’s family announced a reward of nearly half a million dollars for information on his whereabouts.
Gunmen snatched Dewji, 43, listed by Forbes as Africa’s youngest billionaire, as he entered a hotel gym in Tanzania’s economic capital last Thursday morning.
“The family is offering a reward of a billion shillings ($437,000/376,000 euros) to any person who has information leading to the whereabouts of our son,” family spokesman Azim Dewji told a press conference.
October 13: Arrests, investigations and reassurances
Tanzania’s Home Affairs minister, Kangi Lugola addresses the nation, to deliver an update on the investigations into Dewji’s kidnapping.
Lugola says police are holding 20 people in connection with the incident, urging the nation to remain calm and trust the investigating and rescue teams.
He also sought to allay fears that the security agencies are overwhelmed by a trend of kidnappings, reporting that 44 out of 56 people kidnapped over the past three years had been rescued.
“Let me use this opportunity to assure Tanzanians that our country is safe and they should continue with their daily activities without fear or intimidation,” Lugola said.
He pledged that government would install CCTV cameras in various parts of the country to further secure the populace.
Using the hashtag #BringBackMO, Tanzanians shared their sympathizes with Dewji’s family, their frustration with the government’s failure to secure lives of citizens and speculated as to the motives and identities of the abductors.
I cannot fathom the state of his family, not knowing where their loved one is! Our prayers go to @moodewji to be safe and strong wherever he is and to his family, and pray for his safe return. pic.twitter.com/vRz0wZ1FFr
— Jacqueline N Mengi (@JNtuyabaliwe) October 12, 2018
Apparently the CCTV footage of the hotel stopped working immediately Mohammed Dewji left the hotel. No cameras have picked up the cars in the CBD.
How were the police quick to conclude it’s foreigners who are behind Mo’s kidnapping? Wake up & smell the coffee.#BringBackOurMo
— Michael Mburu (@MichaelMburu_) October 12, 2018
— Flaviana Matata (@FlavianaMatata) October 15, 2018
Its really sad to hear that #Tanzanian Business man Mo is still missing. Theres so much i think the people are not being told i pray for his safe return to his family. SAD #BringBackOurMo Politics? Business enemies? Or just thugary at its stupidiest level
— The Guy (@TheRealisticGuy) October 15, 2018
October 11: Police launches search and rescue operation
Police reacted to news of the kidnap quickly, as Dar es Salaam special zone commander said security police around the country, including at airports and all exit points have been put on high alert in the hunt for the abductors.
A false rescue report turned out to be inaccurate, even as Tanzanians took to social media to express their anger at the security forces.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: TANZANIA POLICE say search for abducted billionaire Mohammed Dewji still on, earlier reports of arrests inaccurate. https://t.co/WpfkH1a4gv
— NationBreakingNews (@NationBreaking) October 11, 2018
October 11: Dewji abducted by unidentified men
Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda confirmed tha Dewji was seized by unidentified men as he arrived for a morning workout at a luxury hotel in the country’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
Brief about Mohammed Dewji
With wealth estimated at $1.5bn (£980m), Mohammed Dewji is described by Forbes magazine as Africa’s youngest billionaire.
43-year-old Dewji leads MeTL, a family empire started by his father in 1970s. As CEO, Mo is credited with turning the company from a wholesale and retail enterprise into a multi-billion dollar pan-African conglomerate.
He was a member of parliament from 2005 to 2015, and in 2013 he became the first Tanzanian to feature on the cover of Forbes magazine. Two years later, he was named Forbes’ Africa Person of the Year.
Dewji is also the main shareholder in Tanzania’s Simba FC football club.