Police have thrown a security cordon around the country as the hunt for abducted Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji got underway.
Tanzanian police on Thursday refuted claims that the billionaire had been found after a video spread online showing the Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda saying they had arrested the suspects.
But Mr Makonda was only assuring the people that his team is working round the clock to make sure that Tanzanians get the good news.
In the video Mr Makonda said in Kiswahili: “And the good news is that Mo [Mr Dewji’s nickname] has been found and the kidnappers arrested.”
Mr Dewji was kidnapped by unknown people early Thursday morning as he went for his routine gym session at Oyster Bay in Dar es Salaam.
Reports from the scene suggest two white men and an unknown number of accomplices in two cars waylaid the prominent businessman as he walked into the exclusive Colosseum Hotel and Fitness Club, where he is a member.
Dar es Salaam special zone police commander Lazaro Mambosasa said security personnel around the county have been put on high alert in the hunt for the abductors.
It is has not been established why the businessman, 43, was abducted.
News of the incident spread fast as social media users shared the development, sending shockwaves the country.
The billionaire heads the MeTL Group which operates in about 10 countries with interests in agriculture to insurance, transport, logistics and the food industry.
Mr Dewji was born in Tanzania and studied at Georgetown University in the United States. He also served as a member of parliament from 2005 to 2015.
In 2013 he became the first Tanzanian to grace the cover of Forbes magazine, and was in 2015 named Forbes Africa Person of the Year.
Dewji is also the main shareholder in Tanzania’s Simba FC football club.
According to Mambosasa, three people have been arrested for questioning in connection to the incident.
Initial details said Mr Dewji was taken by the suspects in a Toyota Surf vehicle that drove to unknown place.
The police boss said the suspects fired in the air as they drove away with Mr Dewji.
Eye witnesses said four unidentified people arrived before the businessman and parked at the hotel. Another vehicle remained outside.
An Uber driver nearby said when Mr Dewji appeared, the car parked inside flashed lights before the two white men alighted from their vehicle and went straight to where Dewji was.
They then pulled him into their car and sped off while shooting in the air.
Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda was among government officials who arrived at the scene.
Mr Dewji is worth $2 billion, according to Forbes who profiled him recently.