MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Police in Mozambique on Friday investigated the abduction of a wealthy businessman who had been accused by the U.S. government of being an international drug trafficker.
Deputy Interior Minister Jose Mandra said on Radio Mozambique that police were trying to trace Mohamed Bachir Suleman.
Officials and witnesses say Suleman was kidnapped on Wednesday by several men with assault rifles in the parking lot of a shopping mall that he owns in the Mozambican capital, Maputo. Officials say they have not received any ransom demands.
"There is something strange here. Bachir has his own bodyguards," Mandra said. "He ordered them to go home on the very day of his kidnapping."
Suleman's abduction was the latest in an increasing number of kidnappings targeting wealthy figures in Mozambique.
In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama put Suleman on a U.S. list of specially designated narcotics traffickers and barred Americans from doing business with him. His various businesses, including a chain of grocery shops, were blacklisted according to the Kingpin Act of 1999.
Suleman, an orphan who had worked as a street vendor and later became one of Mozambique's richest men, has denied involvement in drug trafficking.