Police here say Gooye Village in Ndato Ward has been uneasy since the November 24 civic polls with CCM leaders who sailed unopposed being targeted.
Last week, a group of more than 10 people physically assaulted Ndaga village chairman George Mwasoni who is among CCM contenders who sailed through unopposed.
The leader was beaten alongside his wife and the two sustained injuries. Police have arrested one suspect but 13 are still on the run, hence initiating a manhunt which started at the weekend.
Speaking during the operation yesterday Mbeya Regional Police Commander ACP Ulrich Matei said one man identified by only one name of Joseph is held by the police while 13 others are still being sought.
Matei said: “It is the worst incident to have occurred in the village, as George Mwasoni is Ndato CCM branch chairman and is among the village chairmen who sailed through unopposed in the recent civic elections. The incident is seen to be associated with politics.”
Apart from the arrested person, the police have 13 names of other suspects and will make sure all are apprehended, he stated.
Speaking at a rally, Rungwe District Commissioner Julius Challya said incidences of violence started during the civic poll campaigns.
He said since then they have been receiving reports of many acts of violence especially during the night, hence they have resolved to send in the police to keep the peace.
He directed the police to camp in the village until all suspects are arrested and called on the residents who ran away in fear of the violence to return, and cooperate with authorities to unearth the perpetrators.
He also urged political leaders who spread hatred in the district to stop doing that, as hatred is not the right attitude in politics.
Some village residents said due to the police operation some fellow villagers had abandoned their families and fled leaving behind frightened relatives.
Ndato Ward CCM chairman Emmanuel Kajuni said some children have been left by their parents without food and have been living in danger ever since.
He asked the government to build a police post in the area to control acts of violence by various gangs, some of whose members are known.