The UN refugee agency has begun a pilot programme to resettle 1,800 refugees in Chad to the United States, with a first group of 11 from several countries flying out of N'Djamena at the weekend. The group that left on Sunday included seven urban refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), three urban Sudanese refugees and one person from the Central African Republic (CAR) who had been living in Dosseye camp in southern Chad.

Members of armed paramilitary groups are a serious threat to civilians who fled violence and insecurity and are now returning to their villages, Human Rights Watch has said in a report. People who have returned to their home regions have been killed, forcibly recruited into paramilitary groups, and threatened with death by armed men who in many cases have seized their land.

Some 110,000 Sudanese refugees over the age of 18 in eastern Chad will receive identity cards under a new programme launched with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “The ID cards are the equivalent of a ‘refugee passport’ allowing free movement within the host country and providing access to some basic services in line with the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention,” agency spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.

The Chadian government handed 82 under-18 child soldiers over to UNICEF during an official ceremony. The children were caught following armed clashes between the Chadian national army and rebels of the Union of the Resistance Forces (UFR).

Growing insecurity in eastern Chad is limiting aid workers’ access to refugees and displaced Chadians, aid workers say. Rebels and government troops recently clashed in eastern Chad and armed banditry – long a problem in the region – is on the rise, including the fatal shooting of a UN-trained national policeman on 13 May.