As the plane carrying journalists to the Rwanda security forces’ area of responsibility in Cabo Delgado Province approached the Afungi Airstrip on Monday, September 26, a line of seven small fishing vessels lingered, far below, closer to the shore. That was not the only vivid sign of how life in the Afungi Peninsula, in Palma district, has changed, for the better, in the past year. Fishing activities in the area had come to a halt due to the fear spread by the Islamic State-linked terrorist group. About an hour later, on the main road from Afungi to Palma Town, The New Times took in more signs of hope. Unlike in the past when only military convoys snaked through the district, women and young girls carrying heavy baskets walk on the roadsides. People who had fled from their homes, leaving them to be burnt down, returned to renovate them and continue with their lives after Rwandan security forces helped stabilize the area and restore state authority. Palma and Mocimboa da Praia are the two districts in Cabo Delgado Province where Rwandan security forces operate. After securing swathes of territory previously rendered unsafe by terrorists, Rwandan security forces and their Mozambican counterparts have enabled more than 130,000 people return to their villages and carry on with their normal lives, noted Maj Gen Eugene Nkubito, the joint task force commander of the Rwandan security forces. Today, he added, there is “significant improvement in the security situation.” Rwandan security forces rescued hundreds of civilians from the hands of the terrorists and established good working relations with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) and the host nation. We have a good rapport with the population in Palma district and Mocimboa da Praia district. The Rwandans are also collaborating with the SADC force. “After conducting several joint operations including the recent one, operation Volcano, that led to the withdraw of enemy forces from Catupa forest, in Macomia District, the enemy was weakened,” Gen Nkubito said. Macomia District is not in the Rwandan security forces’ area of responsibility but the latter pursued the terrorists there, in collaboration with SADC forces. “This has led to the return of a significant number of internally displaced persons to their homes while operations to maintain security as well as stabilisation phase activities continue. More than 130,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their homes and villages.” By and large, despite poor road networks, especially during rainy seasons, and lack of a mobile communication network mostly in remote areas, the Rwandan security forces and their Mozambican counterparts managed to pursue, repulse and capture many weapons and equipment from the terrorists as well as destroy enemy strongholds and deny them freedom of action. The Rwandan security forces’ areas of responsibility are safe,” the General said. Sumail Buancu, 35, a shopkeeper in Palma Town, told The New Times that she had lost hope of ever returning home. She added: “We prayed so hard for peace and, luckily, we got it. Now we are working.” Awa Ali Momadi, another mother who was selling water nearby, said: “We praise God for having the Rwandans and Mozambicans working together to liberate Palma. We are happy.” For Momadi, life is hard, but it is better than it was when her people were constantly on the run, fearing they could be caught and killed by the terrorists. A few meters down the busy road, Mwanamisse Abdala, 22, was haggling with a young man selling Kitenges, colourful pieces of African fabric that contain a variety of patterns and designs. On her back, her healthy seven-month old baby seemed unbothered. In July 2021, at the request of the government of Mozambique, Rwanda deployed troops to Cabo Delgado to help fight the terrorists there, stabilize the area and restore state authority. Rwanda’s security forces were to work closely with Mozambique's army as well as forces from the Southern African Development Community. Cabo Delgado has 16 districts. Those most affected by terrorists’ activities were Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Mueda, Mocamia, Muidumbe and Nangade.