GOZ-BEIDA, Chad – Harsh light and shifting shadows in the windblown desert of eastern Chad can conjure strange images, but this was no mirage. Lurking in the shade of a thorn tree was the dark outline of a pick-up truck carrying a dozen men brandishing weapons. Ruled by the gun, this lawless corner of Africa borders Sudan and has inherited the violent power struggles from neighbouring Darfur. The shapes under the tree spelled trouble. I quickly ordered the driver of our battered Suzuki Samurai to U-turn, but as we accelerated away, kicking up sand, the sharp “crack-crack-crack” of gunshots split the air