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Maungdaw: Burma and Bangladesh swapped prisoners on Saturday at the border, demonstrating the strength of relations between the two neighboring countries, according to local reports.

BGB-Nasaka-prisoner-exchange-flage-meeting photo Taknaf news
The prisoner exchange was conducted by local authorities two days before a three-day visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina to Burma. She is set to leave for Burma on 5 December, 2011.

A close associate of Burma's immigration department said, "Burma released 22 Bangladesh prisoners from Buthidaung prison and then they were sent back to Bangladesh on Saturday through the border town Maungdaw."

Bangladesh authorities also handed over 19 prisoners including two monks from Cox's Bazar prison to Burma on the same day.

"The released Burmese prisoner were accepted by the immigration department in Maungdaw and they are currently staying at the immigration office. The authority is arranging to send them back to the respective homes in Burma," the source said.

There was also a commander-level flag meeting in Teknaf, a border town of Bangladesh opposite Maungdaw, before the prisoner exchange took place.

An Arakanese national from Teknaf said, "Two commanders of Nasaka Areas No. 6 and 7 from Nasaka border security force attended the flag meeting while the commander from Bangladesh's Regiment 42 from BGB attended the meeting along with some officials."

According to a Burmese government-run newspaper, Burma has released 35 Bangladesh nationals from Burmese prisons at the Bangladesh government's request and aim to promote relations between the two countries.
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