Amid the Violence: Central African Republic’s Looted Storefronts

Central African Republic
Jerome Delay—AP
The following photos were taken Feb. 4, 2014 in Bangui, Central African Republic: A Muslim-owned fish shop stands looted in the Miskin district of Bangui.

Central African Republic has been wracked by inter-communal violence since Muslim Séléka militias seized power after ousting President François Bozizé in March 2013. Clashes between the Séléka forces and Christian vigilante anti-balaka (or “anti-machete”) factions continue as French and African Union forces struggle to contain the bloodshed.

Jerome Delay’s images of looted Muslim-owned stores in Bangui, the country’s capital, provide an unsettlingly quiet look at the results of the ongoing conflict. The photographs show stores on the avenue leading to the PK5 neighborhood of the city — all of which have been looted over the past two days.

Jerome Delay—AP

Jerome Delay—AP

A newly enlisted Central African Armed Forces soldier stabs the lifeless body of a suspected Muslim Seleka militiaman moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui, Feb. 5, 2014.

Jerome Delay, Chief Africa photographer for the AP, describes the incident in a note to TIME and offers a stark warning: "Today I met the Devil. In a scene Quentin Tarantino would not have dreamed scripting, I saw a man killed. Butchered. By his fellow countrymen. His mistake was to be named Idris and to be Muslim. What was first an orderly cheering crowd happy to hear they were finally going to get paid, turned in an instant into a tidal wave of barbarism.The VIPs had barely left. We have reached the point of no return in sectarian violence."

MORE: Soldiers Lynch Suspected Rebel After Ceremony for National Unity


Jerome Delay is the Africa Chief Photographer of the Associated Press. He previously wrote for LightBox about Mali’s invisible war.

Richard Conway is a reporter for LightBox at TIME 


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