However, that figure is a conservative estimate, Adrian Edwards of the refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday.
“Those numbers are rising still. Clearly there is an increase in the people displaced at this time,” he said.
A combined force of 1,600 French troops and 4,000 AU soldiers has been struggling to restore order in the chronically unstable nation since receiving a UN mandate early this month.
The task has been complicated by accusations that soldiers from Chad, which is mainly Muslim and which has been traditionally influential in its neighbor’s affairs, have been siding with the Seleka.
The accusations have been fanned by several incidents, including one on Monday when Burundian troops in the AU force said Chadian soldiers opened fire on them as they were disarming former rebels.
The same day, Chadian peacekeepers fired on a stone-throwing crowd of mostly Christian protesters, killing one man and wounding about 40 more.
With tensions running high, the AU force on Wednesday said it would redeploy the Chadian contingent out of the capital to the north of the country.