The figure was cited by the deputy minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and Disabled), Antony Mavunde, in the National Assembly in Dodoma yesterday.
He was responding to a question raised by Special Seats member of parliament Halima Bulembo (CCM) on progress made so far in the government’s intensive operation to apprehend drug traffickers in the country.
According to the deputy minister, many of those caught are still undergoing police interrogation while some have already been charged in court.
He said at least 30 per cent of those caught are well-known drug traffickers who will face the full wrath of the law if found guilty.
“The government continues to take care of the 5,560 drug addicts who have been preserved in various sober centres in the country... they are being enlightened on the effects of drug use,” Mavunde added.
In February last year, the government launched its aggressive campaign to curb the use and trading of illicit drugs in the country due to the real and present danger they pose to society.
President Magufuli issued direct instructions to the police and other security forces to spare no one found to be involved in illicit drugs sale or consumption, even if they are top politicians or their relatives.
“Even if my wife Janeth is involved, she should be arrested,” the president said at the time.
The anti-narcotics drive reflects growing international concerns that East Africa is being increasingly used as a drug trafficking hub and transit point.
A spate of record-size narcotics hauls in Kenya and Tanzania has fanned belief that the region is seen as an easier route for drug traffickers because of porous borders and weak maritime surveillance.
It remains a widely-held belief in Tanzania that top public officials and other powerful individuals with strong government connections are deeply involved in the illicit drugs trade, which is why it has proved so hard to stop.