CAR crisis: Meeting the rebel army chief
On a dirt side-street between the deserted petrol station and the hospital in Bambari in the Central African Republic, five well-armed soldiers were standing guard outside the tall gates of what must once have been a rather grand colonial villa.
A few minutes earlier, I had received a rather brusque phone call from a man called Major General Joseph Zoundeiko, who wanted me to come and see him immediately.
Gen Zoundeiko is the army chief of staff of what his headed notepaper describes as the "Forces Republicains" of the Central African Republic.
To you and me, he is a rebel leader - part of the loose alliance of mostly Muslim forces known as Seleka which ousted CAR's president last year and held power until January.
Trying to understand the political power dynamics here is not easy.
Central African Republic crisis: Silent majority held hostage
Travelling into the countryside of the Central African Republic around Bambari is an unpredictable business at the best of times. Two punctures on the rutted dirt track delayed our first attempt.
We limped back to a tyre-repair shop in the town's dilapidated Muslim quarter, close to the spot where a suspected Christian fighter had been hacked to death by a mob.
Central African Republic: Where rumours can kill in seconds
The French soldier nearly tripped over the old man.
"I thought he was dead," he said, moments later, bending down to examine the skeleton-thin body lying naked in the dark debris of what the French patrol had assumed was an abandoned building on the outskirts of Bambari.
Central African Republic: Fighting spreads like infection
Francoise Gerizapa scrunched her face into a fierce pout and then screamed once more - a chilling, sing-song whoop that filled the dark, crowded ward at Bambari's hospital in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Two nurses were holding Ms Gerizapa's shoulders as a third poured disinfectant into a large, rotting, bullet wound in the 43-year-old's lower leg.
Central African Republic's road to anarchy
On a map, the RN (Route Nationale) 2 looks like a rather important highway linking the central town of Sibut with the entire eastern half of the Central African Republic (CAR) and beyond.
If you want to drive from the capital, Bangui, towards South Sudan, Uganda and the Indian Ocean, then the RN2 is your only option - a vital artery for commerce and migration that runs through valleys and forests, past gold and diamond mines and dozens of major towns as it forges eastwards just north of the equator and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
How did Oscar Pistorius' defence fare?
Judge Thokozile Masipa stood up, bowed and walked stiffly out of courtroom GD; minutes later South African athlete Oscar Pistorius slipped away too, followed by his legal team.
No-one appeared to be smiling.
Oscar Pistorius: A glimpse of what might have been
It wafted through the courtroom like a patch of unexpected sunlight, before prosecutor Gerrie Nel - true to form - marched over and yanked down the blinds.
Kenya's wrestle with insecurity
It was a reasonably thorough body search. "How did I do?" said the Kenyan security guard afterwards, fishing, unexpectedly, for a compliment.
"Was it properly done? If so, please tell your country it is safe to come here…"
Peter Greste represents all journalists
I first ran into journalist Peter Greste in a sandstorm in northern Afghanistan in 2001.
We were both staying in the same crowded, shabby house, trying to make sense of the fighting nearby, and clinging on to a few home-comforts - something at which Peter, with his roll-ups, his music and his well-honed ability to put the stresses of the job to one side over a few beers, excelled.