Forecasts of international political events
Will IDPs in the CAR exceed one million?
The count of Internally Displaced People in the Central African Republic has dropped since the beginning of February. For about a week after the selection of Samba-Panza as the new president, the previous rapid rise in the count of IDPs suddenly stopped. It rose again after 27 January, when Seleka leaders started leaving the capital. That apparently encouraged the anti-baleka to increase their attacks on Muslims, and the count of IDPs peaked at roughly 922,000 around 3 February, followed by a rapid but unfortunately brief drop to about 825,000 at roughly 10 February. I think this was due to two things: The French and African Union troops had better control of the capital, and those Muslims who could be driven out of their homes had been driven out. (Some neighborhoods organized to prevent violence.) This was followed by a week with a slight increase in IDPs. For the week following 17 February there was another rapid drop in the count of IDPs that more or less coincided with French troops leaving the capital and moving out into other parts of the country. At this point, many Muslims have left Christian-dominated areas and either gone to the country’s north-east, or left the country. Simply put, most of the people who were at risk of becoming IDPs have become IDPs and the count of people being driven from their homes is matched by the count of people returning home or leaving the country.
500 peacekeeping troops from the EU are expected to go to the CAR in March. That’s a 7% increase in foreign peacekeeping troops. That’s not a lot, but it increases the odds of controlling the violence. At this point, I think there will be a long gradual drop in the count of IDPs. Some are likely to remain displaced for years. But with good luck, there should be no more increases.