Arusha. Nine people, including three police officers, are being questioned by police over alleged abduction of a prominent gemstone dealer. Mr Sammy Mollel, the director of Arusha-based Gem and Rock Ventures, was allegedly kidnapped by people some reported to be from the police headquarters in Dodoma.
The incident happened on December 12 during which the abductors demanded some Sh10 million which he surrendered.
Arusha Regional Police Commander Salum Hamduni confirmed the incident during a media briefing yesterday, adding that investigation was underway.
Mr Mollel is the chairman of the Tanzania Mineral Dealers Association (Tamida), and operated a number of tanzanite pits at Mererani Township. The regional police boss told reporters that the three of the said three police officers are from the intelligence unit of the Force in Dodoma.
Among those under arrested is a fellow gemstone dealer and Tamida official Lucas Mdeme who is suspected to be the mastermind of the deal. Initially the abductors demanded some Sh30 million from Mr Mollel on December 12 when he was confronted by the nine abductors at his Pangani Street office in Arusha.
However, upon reaching Makuyuni on the way to Dodoma, he pleaded to his release for a token of Sh10 million which he paid on the spot.
They agreed that the remaining amount Sh20 million be paid on December 19 but all the nine people were arrested following a tip to the police. The RPC said investigation into the whole issue was underway and that the file would be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
For the arraigned police officers, disciplinary or legal measures would be taken against them as per the Police Force Orders and depending on their confirmed role in the kidnap.
When reached, Mr Mollel said it emerged that the said police officers were not sent by their leaders at the Police headquarters in Dodoma.
Other reports had it that the nine could be part of a gang that has been terrorising business people in Arusha, mainly targeting the gemstone dealers.