Members of the Central African Armed Forces lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel on Feb. 5, 2014, in Bangui.
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Members of the Central African Armed Forces lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel on Feb. 5, 2014, in Bangui.Issouf Sanogo / AFP / Getty Images
Members of the Central African Armed Forces lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel on Feb. 5, 2014, in Bangui.
Members of the Central African Armed Forces lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel on Feb. 5, 2014, in Bangui.
A man suspected to be a Muslim Seleka militiaman lays wounded after being stabbed by newly enlisted Central African Armed Forces soldiers moments after Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza addressed the troops in Bangui, Feb. 5, 2014.
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.
Members of the Central African Armed Forces lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel on Feb. 5, 2014, in Bangui.
A man uses rock to strike the corpse of a man, who was killed as he was accused of joining the ousted Seleka fighters, in the capital Bangui, Feb. 5, 2014.
A man jumps on the corpse of a man, who was killed as he was accused of joining the ousted Seleka fighters, in the capital Bangui, Feb. 5, 2014.
A Central African Armed Forces officer jumps on 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.
A member of the Central African Armed Forces puts his knife away after taking part in the lynching of a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel on Feb. 5, 2014, in Bangui.
Members of the Central African Armed Forces lynch a man suspected of being a former Seleka rebel on Feb. 5, 2014, in Bangui.
Issouf Sanogo / AFP / Getty Images
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Soldiers Lynch Suspected Rebel After Ceremony for National Unity

Feb 07, 2014

In a shocking scene, Central African Republic troops first stabbed and then lynched a man suspected of belonging to now-disbanded Seleka rebels. The hideous act came just after a ceremony where the crisis-hit country’s new interim President Catherine Samba-Panza had addressed the armed forces, urging for national unity. Seleka fighters, largely Muslim, overthrew the government in Bangui last year, leading to months of chaos that saw the country’s standing army melt away. Clashes between ex-Seleka factions and Christian militias led to thousands of deaths and almost a quarter of the nation displaced by the unprecedented sectarian violence.

Jerome Delay, Chief Africa photographer for the AP, was one of three photographers at the scene. He describes this 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.

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