Mozambique authorities deported at least 4,000 foreign nationals in a crackdown against illegal migration in 2017 alone, officials said.
A statement by the National Migration Services (Senami), said the figure suggested a 46 per cent rise from the previous year’s.
The statement said Malawi nationals topped the list with 871 deportations, followed by Zimbabweans at 744 and Tanzanians at 322.
Some 212 foreigners were also expelled from Mozambique in 2017, according to the statement.
Senami said most of the foreign nationals held fake passports. Cabo Delgado and Tete provinces had the highest influx of foreigners.
Cabo Delgado Province, about 1,663km north of Maputo, boasts of minerals such as gold, grenadines, aquamarines, tourmalines, blue topaz and green tourmalines.
The northernmost Mozambican province borders Tanzania and is divided into 16 districts, with an area of 77,867km² and a population of 1,893,156.
The mineral industry plays a significant role in the Mozambique economy.
A fortnight ago, Mozambique police deported 11 Malawi nationals intent on sneaking into South Africa.
According to VOA Radio, the Malawi nationals were travelling without passports in Sofala Province on their way to South Africa.
“We repatriated 11 Malawi illegal nationals,” VOA Radio quoted Manica Province migration services spokesperson Jeorge Machava as saying.
Some 500 Malawi nationals are deported annually from Mozambique as they try to sneak into South Africa, according to VOA Radio.
Last October, Mozambican authorities deported 88 Malawi nationals suspected of attempting to sneak into South Africa.
The 88 were arrested in Tete Province after using uncharted routes and improper travel documents.
The more expansive Mozambique almost surrounds Malawi.
Malawi hosted thousands of Mozambican refugees during and in the aftermath of the latter’s protracted civil war.
However, their relations have deteriorated in recent years.
An estimated 10,000 Mozambicans were believed to have fled to Malawi, to escape the conflict at home.
Mozambican authorities last June confirmed that some 6,346 refugees had returned home from Malawi.
Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The SADC bloc also includes Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
South Africa is the largest economy and the most developed SADC state.