Ethiopia and Somalia have started exchanging more than 3,700 prisoners of war, some held since the two Horn of Africa neighbors began fighting over a patch of desert 11 years ago.

The scheduled 10-day operation follows an accord signed by Ethiopia and Somalia in April and involves some prisoners held since hostilities began in 1977, said the International Committee of the Red Cross.On its first flight Tuesday, a Red Cross-chartered plane brought 176 Ethiopians and a Cuban from Somalia's capital Mogadishu to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, and returned to Mogadishu with 111 Somalians, a Red Cross statement said.

The Geneva-based group is supervising the exchange.

The exchange left 3,421 Ethiopians in Somalia and 118 Somalis in Ethiopian hands.

Under an April 6 accord, both sides agreed to withdraw troops from their borders, a move which was completed in May.

They also agreed to swap prisoners and restore diplomatic relations, severed at the outbreak of the 1977-78 Ogaden war.