Tanzanian police here have intensified the manhunt for more suspects of brutal murder of Arusha-based researchers as many residents of Iringa-Mvumi village have reportedly fled their homes to escape arrest.

Three researchers from Arusha-based Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) were heinously butchered and later torched on Saturday evening at Chamwino District's Iringa-Mvumi village.

Dodoma Regional Police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa said that the police had arrested at least 30 people over the brutal slaying of two researchers, Teddy Lumanga and Faraji Mafuru, and their driver Nicas Magazine.

The regional police chief said 21 men and nine women were under police custody over their alleged involvement in the killings. The villagers had accused the researchers of being 'vampires'. "Many people in the village have fled their homes but the search is still on," the RPC told 'Daily News' in a telephone interview.

Meanwhile, MARC NKWAME reports from Arusha that the badly charred remains of the deceased have been transported to Arusha for last respects and burial arrangements.

The research institute issued a statement expressing disappointment and regrets to what happened over the weekend as its innocent researchers were lynched and burnt.

"It will take SARI between two weeks to a month before resuming the now abandoned research project in Dodoma, the incident has highly set us back causing great pain to parents, relatives and co-workers," said Dr Charles Lyamchai, a principal agricultural research officer at the institute.

Dr Lyamchai said SARI has always worked to support peasants and local farmers in the country and majority have benefitted from research projects and extension services provided freely and timely by the government owned institution.

"This is not the kind of payment SARI was expecting from the same people whose livelihood was being improved and supported by the institution," said the officer.

One of the aggrieved officials at SARI is Dr January Mafuru, the current director of the institute, whose son, Faraji Mafuru, was among the killed experts. The deceased will be transported to his home district of Musoma in Mara region for burial. The body of Nicas Magazine is also scheduled for transportation to Ifakara in Morogoro for burial.

The third deceased, Teddy, an Arusha resident will be buried at her Olasiti home here.

The gruesome incident occurred on Saturday evening after a group of villagers attacked the researchers with crude weapons before setting them on fire.

The car, which they were travelling in, a Toyota Hilux double-cabin, belonging to SARI, was also torched.