The rapatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees began following the agreement signed on 3 April 1988 between Ethiopia and Somalia. During July, ICRC delegates visited and registered the prisoners of war and civilian internees in both countries. For many of those held in Somalia, this was the first visit by the ICRC in eleven years of captivity. The repatriation operation was organized in co-operation with the authorities and the National Societies of the two countries concerned. On 23 August, the first flight left Mogadishu for Dire Dawa (Ethiopia) with an initial group of 176 Ethiopians and a Cuban prisoner of war who had been held in Somalia for over ten years.