February 5, 2014 1:47 PM EST

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.

The House Ethics committee is continuing an investigation it began last year into Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) to determine whether he improperly used funds to pay a former staffer, according to a statement released Monday. Gutierrez is under review for allegedly paying his former chief of staff Douglas Scofield thousands of dollars to provide training that may not be permissible under House rules. Gutierrez paid Scofield $595,000 for providing services that included staff development and training between 2003 and 2013. Because the funds were reportedly derived from the Congressman’s Members’ Representational Allowance — his office’s annual budget — Gutierrez may have violated congressional rules. While funds from the Allowance may be used to hire a contractor, according to the Office of Ethics report, the services Scofield provided “more closely resembled those performed by an employee or consultant – someone who provides professional advice or services OTHER [RIGHT?] than those performed by a contractor – someone who performs a discrete task or job, such as maintenance, data entry, custodial services, or staff training.” The investigation was reportedly sparked after USA Today published an article in June noting Scofield had been paid over $500,000 after he left Gutierrez’s staff. Scofield, who is currently a lobbyist, worked as the Congressman’s Chief of Staff, until 2002 before leaving and eventually launching his own Chicago-based firm. The committee released the following statement on the review: "The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee." Rep. Gutierrez's spokesman Douglas G. Rivlin, also released a statement on the matter: "As the Committee reviews this matter, Congressman Gutiérrez and his office will continue to cooperate fully. As the Committee points out, its review does not indicate that any violation has occurred or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee."
Jerome Delay—AP

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

Richard Conway is Reporter/Producer for TIME LightBox. Follow him on twitter @RichardJConway


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