Travelling at over 70 down through the southern Badlands our Landcruiser grinds to a momentous halt, narrowly avoiding children and curb-side market stalls. Chickens squark and flap as my Nikons plunge into a dusty dark footwell, clattering in a heap amongst a plume of dust. Twenty-four heavily armed men stride past the front of the truck in desert fatigues, each shouldering a rifle of Russian origin. Heavy Chinese-made boots trample the ancient sun-beaten rock, an off-key melody punctuated by the quiet ticking-over of our breathless Land Crusier engine. Passing within a foot of our heaving metal beast, the child soldiers press battle-scarred magazines into worn rifles, ratcheting their soviet steel in preperation for the onslaught ahead.