Africa's youngest billionaire kidnapped in Tanzania

Hunt on as Tanzanian billionaire Mohamed Dewji abducted in Dar

Hunt on as Tanzanian billionaire Mohamed Dewji abducted in Dar

The abductors, who are believed to be foreign nationals, accessed the gym through gates that are believed to have been left open deliberately, Dar es Salaam regional police commissioner Lazaro Mambosaso told CNN.

Police have thrown a security cordon around the country as the hunt for abducted Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji got underway.

Although Tanzania has seen a wave attacks and abductions of opposition politicians and perceived government critics, this is the first time a businessman of Mr Dewji's standing has been kidnapped in the country.

Dewji, 43, was elected to parliament on the CCM ticket but did not seek re-election for his seat in the 2015 election.

Businessmen have never felt at risk of being kidnapped and they often move around on their own.

The police chief said three people have been arrested and are being questioned.

They drove into the hotel and opened fire before bundling Dewji into a vehicle and speeding off, said Dar es Salaam regional police commissioner Lazaro Mambosaso.

They then sped off while shooting in the air.

Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda was among government officials who arrived at the scene.

Dewji, Tanzania's richest man, is reportedly worth 1.5 billion dollars and also served as a member of parliament from 2005 to 2015.

According to reports, the 44-year-old mogul was walking into the Colosseum Hotel and Fitness Club in Oyster Bay, Dar es Salaam for his routine gym session during the early hours of Thursday morning when two white men and an unknown number of accomplices in two cars waylaid him and quickly drove away.