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Nigerian President Vows To Find Missing Schoolgirls; Violence in Odessa; Lima's Long Awaited Subway Soon To Open; Oscar Pistorius Trial Resumes

Aired May 5, 2014 - 11:00   ET


AMARA WALKER, HOST: These are the pictures that show you just how dangerous it's becoming in parts of Ukraine. The wounded brought to the hospital as Ukrainian forces move against pro-Russia separatists. We're live in eastern Ukraine with details.

Also ahead, militant group Boko Haram admits abducting more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. We'll bring you special coverage of the global effort to bring them home safely.

And the Bladrunner is back in the courtroom. We're live in Pretoria as proceedings enter their tense final stretch.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

WALKER: And we begin with the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine. A CNN team got inside the flashpoint city of Slovyansk where heavy fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militants is claiming lives. A live report from there in just a moment, but first let's take a look at the latest developments.

In Odessa, hundreds of pro-Russia residents gathered to pay tribute to the 46 people killed in clashes and in a building fire last week. But to show you just how that city is divided, pro-Kiev crowds gathered to support the new police chief.

Meanwhile, to the east in Donetsk, they're getting ready for a May 11 referendum to decide whether they want to separate from Ukraine.

Let's now turn to Nick Paton Walsh who is outside Slovyansk. He got a first-hand look at what is happening inside the city. Nick, what are you seeing happening there?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as we moved into the city in the morning it was clear the Ukrainian military was advancing down the main highway into that town. We saw one of their snipers and a recon unit slowly moving down the edge of the road and we warned to hurry up by the checkpoint just behind them.

Turning further in it was also clear the pro-Russian militants were amassing, or at least aware potentially something was about to happen. And the obviously clashes ensued.

We saw armored personnel carriers coming back from that particular direction and then explosions, but also consistent procession of ambulances, about six in total. The first bringing in a woman who had been shot in the head, her husband clearly distraught watching her being taken out of the ambulance and carried into the hospital already unconscious said she'd simply been on the balcony and been hit by that bullet. I was later told by a nurse that she'd died from her injuries.

And we also saw a number of militants, pro-Russian militants being brought into that same hospital. One, pretty close to death it's fair to say, another in a bad condition, two walking wounded, really scenes of just devastated locals outside that hospital.

As we moved further towards the checkpoint, we also saw some civilian cars that had been shot in potentially the crossfire, although the pro- Russian militants did blame Ukrainian forces for some of those deaths, saying often they were blamed on them, in fact instead.

And it was clear, also to -- I've been hearing from Ukrainian officials that perhaps four of their soldiers have died too.

But in these kind of clashes that you still get a feeling that maybe these two forces were testing or probing each other around the outskirts. Today, it was quite clear they're in full on clashes and a sense really, too, going through that city trees chopped down blocking many roads, many more makeshift barricades manned often by unarmed civilians, a real sense of a town increasingly under siege, Amara.

WALKER: And as we take a look at these images, quite disturbing with bloodied people there in Slovyansk, let's also talk about what happened over the weekend, because Nick yet again pro-Kiev authorities were humiliated when pro-Russian separatists stormed this police station and the detainees had to be released. What does this say about Kiev and its ability to maintain law and order?

WALSH: Well, that was far, far to the west of where I'm standing in Odessa. And I think the real concern about that, enormous flare up of violence over the weekend that left at least 40 people killed, many of them from smoke inhalation when a trade union building caught fire. A lot of them said to be potentially pro-Russian protesters too, although people are still trying to work out exactly what it was that happened there.

It's that suddenly in a town which had been comparatively quiet, we have these extraordinarily violent clashes where pro-Ukrainians clashing with pro-Russian protesters.

I think the concern is now we see a breakdown of law and order there, law enforcement and security services blamed by Ukraine's prime minister himself for not being able to stop those clashes.

We see another city potentially slip out of the full control of Kiev authorities, though they say they're sending reinforcements there to try and maintain law and order.

And all of this feeds into potentially the broader narrative that many analysts are concerned we may see that Moscow, who many accuse of fomenting the unrest and discontent here that's led to a lot, I think, of these heart felt grievances behind some of the pro-Russian protests and militants that we've seen in Slovyansk and other towns too, fomented by Moscow, but also Moscow seeing, well, when it gets completely out of control is that the moment that we step in and potentially send what they would refer to as peacekeepers across the border to restore order. That's the fear that potentially also these parts of Ukraine may be annexed in some other way as well.

All that is farther down the road. But as we see increasing unrest and disorder and simply fear and concern in ordinary Ukrainian civilians, as we saw today in the center of Slovyansk, the possibility for some external intervention just gets closer -- Amara.

WALKER: Nick Paton Walsh with the latest on the increasingly tense situation near Slovyansk. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you.

Let's turn now -- and turning now to the search for more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria last month and still missing. The group suspected of kidnapping them has finally broken its silence in what can only be described as a disturbing statement.

In this hour long video, a man claiming to lead Boko Haram not only claims responsibility, he says he plans to sell the girls in the market and repeats the group mantra that western education should end.

He puts it simply, girls, you should go and get married.

The students were taken from their boarding school in the far northeast of Nigeria. In the middle of the night on April 14, the government in Abuja is coming under increasing pressure and criticism to do more to find them. The Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is leveling criticism of his own at the girl's parents.

Isha Sesay joins me now from -- with the latest from the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

Isha, let's first talk about that statement that we received a short time ago.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Hi there, Amara. Yes, to see finally on tape a claim of responsibility for the abduction of these 200 plus girls although not surprising was still very shocking, very upsetting. Everyone had long thought that this was the work of Boko Haram. They have been laying siege to northern Nigeria for some years now. This year alone, some 1,500 people have lost their lives in their incessant attacks.

So when these girls were abducted in the middle of the night from their school, the finger of blame was immediately pointed at Boko Haram. And just a short time ago, this tape emerged in which Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram as he is known, made his claim of responsibility. And, you know, no one can look at this and just say, well it's just words, it's just you know bravado that he's expressing, because we know that Boko Haram has been growing in its capabilities, striking not just in the northern part of the country in the northeastern part of Nigeria, but striking as far as the capital Abuja where I am, launching two bomb attacks in recent months, recent weeks.

So it is very frightening to see him uncowed, to see him brazen, to see him defiant and to see him proudly saying we took these girls.

Their families are going through so much anguish at a time like this, so much anguish because in their minds and in the minds of many in this country, I might add, Amara, the government does not appear to be manifesting a huge amount of urgency in an effort to find these girls and is certainly not sharing information about their efforts to find them and reunite them with their families.

As you mentioned, the President Goodluck Jonathan speaking on television on Sunday made a claim which has bewildered many, shall we say, here in Nigeria, saying that basically they haven't had the full cooperation of their families and suggesting that that has hampered efforts to find these girls.

Take a listen to some of what he had to say.


GOODLUCK JONATHAN, PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA: (inaudible) or get them out, what we request is much more cooperation from the guardians and the parents of these girls, because up to this time they have not been able to come clearly to give the police clear identity of the girls who are yet to return.


SESAY: You hear the president saying up until this time they haven't been able to get clear identities of the girls. But, you know, others would just point to the fact that there has been so much confusion on the part of the authorities in the way this has been handled, and many complaining loudly about the lack of information that has been forthcoming -- Amara.

WALKER: You just have to feel for these families. It's been three weeks now since those girls were abducted.

Isha Sesay in Abuja. Isha, thank you. We'll see you in just a few minutes.

And of course we'll continue out in depth coverage of the Nigerian kidnappings. Isha Sesay sits down with three Nigerian students who are from the north. And they reflect what many girls there are saying, they don't feel safe anymore.

Our Samuel Burke will bring us the latest on the social media campaign Bring Back our girls.

And John Defterios takes a look at the economic fallout and the inequities in Nigeria.

Oscar Pistorius's murder trial has resumed in South Africa after a two week break. Defense lawyer Barry Roux is moving to shore up his case after prosecutors tried to rip the Olympian's story apart during intense cross- examination before the break.

Well today the defense called two key witnesses, both of them arrived at Pistorius's house shortly after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Let's get more details on what happened in court from our Robyn Curnow in Pretoria -- Robyn.


Well, Oscar Pistorius again emotional today in court. His eyes were puffy and after the adjournment you can see he had been crying. This was during that very crucial testimony by these two witnesses, a father and a daughter who were the first people on the scene moments after the shooting. This is what they said they saw and heard.


JOHAN STANDER, NEIGHBOR OF OSCAR PISTORIUS: I saw the truth there that morning. I saw it. And I feel it.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In an attempt to prove Reeva Steenkamp's death was a tragic mistake, Oscar Pistorius' defense team calling the manager of the Olympian's gated community.

STANDER: He begged God to keep her alive.

CURNOW: Stander was the first person Pistorius called the night he shot and killed his girlfriend.

STANDER: Come to my house, please. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder.

CURNOW: He and his daughter were also the first to walk inside Pistorius' home moments after she was shot four times.

Stander says Pistorius had the expression of innocence.

STANDER: The expression on his face, the expression of sorrow, the expression of pain.

CURNOW: Pistorius, head in hands, as Stander's daughter described the Olympian pleading for help.

CARICE VILJOEN, STANDER'S DAUGHTER: He was begging me to take her to the hospital.

CURNOW: The Olympian's defense team attempting to bounce back from a grueling cross examination two weeks ago.

GERRIE NEL, PROSECUTOR: Your life is just about you, what's important to Oscar.

CURNOW: Pistorius, grilled by prosecutor Gerrie Nel for five days.

NEL: You killed her. You shot and killed her. Won't you take responsibility for that?


CURNOW: The Olympian frequently overcome with emotion.

NEL: Why are you getting emotional now?

PISTORIUS: I did not fire at Reeva. She was --

CURNOW: Nel doggedly pressing the athlete on his version of events, unwilling to believe the shooting was anything less than murder.

NEL: Reeva doesn't have a life anymore because of what you've done.


CURNOW: OK. And today's testimony important because it goes very much to the heart of the defense's case. They've still got at least another five, six, seven, eight more witnesses to lay out their case. And of course today's testimony very much corroborating Oscar Pistorius's version of events. Of course that's the defense's job. It's about solidifying his narrative, not just about the state of mind they found him in, that he was hysterical, that he was trying to save her life, but also the reasons he gave for shooting Reeva Steenkamp. He said initially and right at the beginning, according to these witnesses that he thought she was an intruder.

Back to you.

WALKER: All right, Robyn Curnow with the latest there in Pretoria. Robyn, thank you.

And still to come tonight, the Vatican is under scrutiny again for the priest sex abuse crisis that's rocked the Catholic church. Find out why the UN committee against torture wanted to question the Vatican this time.

Also ahead, we return to Ukraine and the mixed emotions in Odessa. Some celebrate the release of dozens of people detained in the clashes, while others mourn the loss of life.


WALKER: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Amara Walker bringing you extended coverage on the search for more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted last month.

In a rambling hour long video, a man claiming to be the leader of Boko Haram says the group abducted the girls and is planning to sell them. The shocking and disturbing threat is only adding to the pressure on the Nigerian government to do more to find the students quickly.

President Goodluck Jonathan is promising to find them, but acknowledges the government does not know where they're being held.

In response to the abduction the Bring Back our Girls campaign began on Twitter and it has been gaining momentum worldwide. Our Samuel Burke has been following the social media. He joins us now from New York. And Samuel, this campaign on social media has really spread so quickly. What has the response been?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amara, there can be so much noise of social media, but hashtag #bringbackourgirls has managed to rise far above all that and become a truly global phenomenon. I want to illustrate this with This website, the more people tweet about a term or a hashtag this website shows the words bigger on a map. And you can see hashtag #bringbackourgirls across Nigeria there toward the northwestern part of Africa.

But I want to show you now the global view of Twitter. And you can see here from America to Australia and everywhere in between people are using this hashtag, sharing articles and news videos about Nigeria, hashtag #bringbackourgirls, including the former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who tweeted just a short time ago, quote, "access to education is a basic right and an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism."

And this is exactly what Nigerians wanted with this campaign was to get voices from all over the world to recognize what is happening there.

But the tweet that has garnered more attention than anything else by far is this black and white photo from Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot and survived that attack saying, quote, "Malala" -- from her foundation -- "Malala stand in solidarity with Nigerians and people everywhere calling for action to bring back our girls."

WALKER: Yeah, that photo has been retweeted thousands of times.

And Sameul, we've been hearing about this reaction on social media from all around the world. But the response has really been homegrown. So what are the Nigerians saying today?

BURKE: Yeah, it may be going global, but at the end of the day this was started right at home in Nigeria. And it's interesting, because at first I saw people in Nigeria saying -- talking about hopes and prayers and just good wishes for these families, hoping for the best.

But it's changed over the past few days, Amara. And people already talking about how upset they are with their government, even talking about how this is changing how they'll vote in the 2015 elections.

But I keep on coming back to one tweet, because I really feel like it sums up what so many Nigerians are saying on social media, this tweet coming from a Nigerian man who identifies himself as Slim Zogia (ph) on Twitter. And he says, quote, "the government of Nigeria is failing in its part of our social contract."

WALKER: It's great to see social media can really get the word out so quickly. And let's hope that this puts the pressure on the Nigerian government to bring back the girls quickly and safely. Samuel Burke in New York. Samuel thank you very much.

Now while Boko Haram took root in the north of Nigeria, its impact has reached the country's economic heart Abuja. With more, let's bring in our emerging market editor John Defterios from Abu Dhabi.

And John, when we look at what's behind the Boko Haram insurgency, how much does the economic instability and the poverty there have to do with all this?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Amara, in fact Nigeria is one of the great growth stories of the African continent, which is enjoying a renaissance, but you have the abductions and even murders in the north over the last three years serving as black eyes for investors going forward.

Another big challenge, of course, and a key one that investors look at is the wealth gap going from the south to the north. Let's take a look at what I'm talking about.

And let's start in the financial capital of Lagos. And I think this tells a very complete story. Per capita income having risen over the last 10 years has gone up to better than $2,900 in Lagos. You go to the heart of the country, in Abuja, the federal territory, the capital, at $4,000, that's right near the highest in the country. And then you move into the north where the problems are. And Borno state is not the worst example we can talk about here. Per capita income, if you come to the bottom line here, just above $1,600, too much emphasis on farming and agriculture and not enough in terms of manufacturing. The GDP, percentage of the overall country less than 3 percent. And a population of 5 million.

But a couple of other things that stand out in Borno state, which are again black markets for the state itself, 60 percent live in poverty. And of all the violence deaths you see in the country overall, more than a third come from Borno state itself.

So investors are looking, yes, I want to tap into that African growth story. Nigeria has a big population, but they have that wealth gap, which feeds as Tony Blair suggests in a speech -- the former British prime minister -- into radical Islam. Can you have moderate Islam supporting investors coming forward in the country in the future? It's a huge question mark for Goodluck Jonathan. And in fairness, he has not done so in office.

WALKER: All right, John Defterios from Abu Dhabi, thank you for that insight, John.

And while the story is getting global attention, the search is not getting a global response. Columnist Frida Gittas (ph) always generates a huge discussion whenever she writes for us. And on this story, she argues the kidnapping would be the world's biggest story if it happened elsewhere.

See what else Frida (ph) has to say and leave your thoughts on

Live from CNN Center this is Connect the World, coming up, we sit down with three students from Nigeria's north who are living in real fear of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram operating in their region.


WALKER: Welcome back. You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. I'm Amara Walker.

In this week's addition of Transformations, we travel to Lima, Peru. And like many big cities, it's experiencing enormous traffic problems. And for decades, deregulation didn't appear to help. But reform is here and something that was envisioned 25 years ago is finally starting to roll out of stations.

Senior Latin American affairs editor Rafael Romo reports.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anybody traveling to Lima knows that beyond the amazing food and locations, chances are you're going to get stuck in traffic.

GUSTABO GUEERRA, PRESIDNET, PROTANSPORTE (through translator): In Lima, we've had all the possible problems transportation system can have and all at the same time. There's been excessive deregulation, cars imported from Asia with the steering wheels on the right-hand side, and extreme deregulation that has created problems, therefore transportation cannot be left open to the fluctuations of the market and supply and demand.

ROMO: What's missing, they say, is a unified system that organizes and plans the way people move in and around the city. At the core of problem is the long overdue subway system.

CARLOS NOSTRE, DIRECTOR, LIMA METRO CONSORTIUM (through translator): A subway is needed once a city has 2 million people. Lima has 9 million people. And it's very late in that sense. The subway is a fast, efficient, non-polluting system. And there is no way a city can grow without a subway system that has to be integrated to all the other transportation systems.

ROMO: Construction of Line one of the subway began about 25 years ago, but it was never finished. Now it's almost complete. It will unite the north and south part of the city in an efficient way for the first time.

The whole plan for the Metro de Lima calls for six lines with 130 kilometers of track. Investments have been huge. Line one cost $549 million and included the construction of two bridges over the Rimac river.

Line two, which will start being built in 2014 is expected to cost $5.7 billion.

GUERRA (through translator): We have 9 million people. We have 13 million daily trips on the public transportation system. We're going to grow to 20 million trips with a population of 13 million people. This is a big city that needed a reform with a unified vision.

ROMO: The subway system plans to have three lines operating by 2023. And if the economy allows, five lines by 2030.

NOSTRE: Often when we visit the subway with people from the community, they cry when they are riding on the train. That's when we realized how important the metro is both for the system and for the pride and confidence of people besides time efficiency, because all the social classes use this system.

ROMO: And that is the priceless transformation in a modern city.

Rafael Romo, CNN.


WALKER: The latest world news headlines just ahead.

Plus, it's Nigeria's north that's home to Islamist militant group Boko Haram. We speak to three girls about the growing fear of going to school there.


WALKER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories this hour. A man claiming to lead Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria last month. And in a disturbing video, the man says he plans to sell the girls and repeats the extremist group's mantra that Western education should end.

A UN committee has grilled the Vatican over its handling of sex abuse by Catholic priests. The UN Committee Against Torture questioned church officials in Geneva today. Church officials will get a chance to respond on Tuesday.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was released by police in Northern Ireland on Sunday. He was questioned for four days about the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. He says he had nothing to do with her killing, which was reportedly carried out by the Irish Republican Army. Adams has not been charged.

Heavy fighting has broken out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, and the casualties are adding up. Ukraine's interior ministry says four people have been killed. Meanwhile, a Ukrainian military helicopter patrolling the area was shot down. The crew was rescued.

The Ukrainian city of Odessa is still in shock over the dozens -- over the death, rather, of dozens of pro-Russian activists in Friday's clashes last week. On Sunday, hundreds of supporters of those detained during the violence converged on the police station and demanded their release. Phil Black reports.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Odessa is a long way from the Russian border, but there have always been concerns about the possibility of the country's crisis flaring up here. It's a city with a large Russian-speaking population, strong historic and cultural links to Russian as well.

But there's a key difference between here and the east of the country: in Odessa, you also have a large crowd of people who are regularly prepared to take to the streets in the name of Ukrainian unity. And it is that mix that in recent days has resulted in some of the worst violence Ukraine's crisis has seen.


BLACK (voice-over): Most of this crowd just stood in the rain and screamed.


BLACK: Demanding freedom for the pro-Russian activists held inside the police station. But others wanted to break them out.


BLACK: They desperately attacked the building, smashing whatever they could. The crowd cheered them on. Eventually, they broke through into the station's inner courtyard. The police didn't try to stop them.


BLACK: The crowd was offered a deal. Those detained would be released if everyone then went home.


BLACK: Rage suddenly replaced by joy. Public enemies of the Ukrainian government walked free.


BLACK: Their chant, "All for one, one for all." Another victory for a violent crowd, yet another humiliation for the country's police.

BLACK (on camera): These men are coming out of the building saying that all the cell doors have been thrown open. They've been greeted as heroes with smiles, hugs. People are crying. It's all so different to what was happening here a few moments ago, when this crowd was screaming, "Odessa will never forgive, never forget."

BLACK (voice-over): While these people celebrated the freedom of the living, another large gathering mourned the dead. This was outside the trade union building, where pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainians clashed Friday. More than 40 were killed, mostly pro-Russians, as fire spread through the building.

There was anger here, too, but mostly grief. They cried openly for people they didn't know. The deaths here inspired Ukraine's interim prime minister to come to Odessa, pleading for national unity.

ARSENIY YATSENYUK, PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE: This is the wake-up call for the entire country. For reconciliation, we need to realize that Russians want to eliminate our country.

BLACK: His message is a tough sell in a city where so many now believe people who speak Russian are being killed and arrested by forces loyal to the Ukrainian government.


BLACK (on camera): Among Ukrainian authorities, there are different versions about who actually gave the order to free those prisoners. No one is accepting responsibility as there are different claims about who was responsible for Friday's violence.

Ultimately, it is the legacy of these events that matter. Odessa is now a different city. Hearts here have hardened. There is greater bitterness, resentment, even hatred, than there was just a few days ago.

Phil Black, CNN, Odessa, southern Ukraine.


WALKER: Now back to the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria. Female students now have a growing fear about their fate following the kidnapping. Our Isha Sesay spoke with three students from northern Nigeria about how it has changed their lives. She is with us now. Isha?

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Amara. This is a difficult time to be a girl in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram, since they sprung up some years ago, has repeatedly said that they are against Western education and specifically the education of girls, saying that they should not be educated and they should go off and get married.

So, these are tense times, because Boko Haram has done more than just say that they oppose education, they have gone off to schools. And almost three weeks ago now, they went into a school in northeaster Nigeria and they abducted 200-plus girls who have yet to be recovered.

So, I wanted to hear directly from girls from that part of the country to really get a sense of how all of this is affecting them, how this has changed their outlook, and what their hopes are for the future. Take a listen to our conversation.


SESAY: Tell me about the impact it's had among your group of friends, and what people were saying in school, and how it affected your lives?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of my friends, they don't stay on campus. They leave immediately after lectures. Everyone goes home. No one -- extra-curricular activities, nobody really wants to stay because most of us are really -- we didn't feel safe. So we just came to school, and immediately we went back home.

SESAY: Did you ever think about not going to school?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it did, it crossed my mind. But I felt that if I stayed at home, it might happen to me at home, it can happen to me at school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes it's not about not going to school. Even if you go to school, do you feel comfortable sitting in class and understanding what the lecture or teacher is saying? But sure, they might go to school, but they don't really have that comfort to stay and understand what they're supposed to.

SESAY: The concern, obviously, is that -- not where you're from, maybe -- but this will have an impact and that more and more girls will become afraid. And we know that there are already large numbers of girls not going to school in the north. Talk to me about just your feelings about the future for where you're from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be honest with you, if this goes on, many parents from the north, I don't think they'll allow their daughters to go to school. And sometimes the schools that are closer to home are not very, very good. So, to get a college education, we have to go further from home. So, it means that there will be no college education and illiteracy is going to increase.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the future, even if after all this has settled and the girls are returned back safely, there's a psychological feeling, still it will affect you, as girls and the community. And maybe in my community, too, the school, since that happened there, it means unpredictably, it can happen here.

So, don't like to go to school. It scares their parents, most especially, who feel afraid. We are not going to let our girls go to school because we don't suffer from what other parents suffer, yes. Many from experience, which you learn from the past.

So, definitely, the girls who go to school, they will feel what these girls do now, too. And they might come in, forced into marriage. The girls' dreams are crushed, which is something we don't want for their little girls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we need to go to school so that we can be who we want to be, because many girls in the north, if you -- I wish you could talk to many of us from the north. You're going to hear their dreams. "I want to be a lawyer, I want to be a nurse."

And it's very -- I think you can get only two percent that will tell you, "I just want to marry and just be a mother, just be a housewife." Before, yes. Before, many girls from the north said was --


SESAY: And I think that's what a lot of people still think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, right now, that's not true, to be honest with you. That is not true. Every girl in the north wants to be educated, she wants to be heard, she wants to help the society be a better one.


SESAY: And you know, it's worth pointing out that these girls aren't from Borno state, where the attacks happened some three weeks ago, where those girls were abducted. They're from a different from state, there, in the north.

But such is the fear of the growing capabilities of Boko Haram that they were afraid to put their faces on camera, and that's why we obscured their identities. Just want to make that clear for our viewers.

But I was so struck by their bravery, how articulate they are, Amara. And also, this very simple fact that girls all over the world are essentially the same. They all have hopes, they have dreams, and they want to fulfill those dreams.

You have to understand, you have to put in context what is happening in the northern part of Nigeria that Nigeria has one of the largest out-of- school populations in the world, over ten million children are not in school. The majority of that number are there in the northern part of the country.

So, what Boko Haram is doing has real implications for getting the number up, the number of kids that are in school, and specifically, girls. But these girls that I spoke to said they would not let Boko Haram stand in the way of them fulfilling their dreams. Amara?

WALKER: Wow, they are so courageous, Isha, and it's just so inspiring to hear that they remain quite ambitious for a better future. Isha Sesay there in Abuja. Thank you for bringing us that report.

And join us all this coming week as we bring you the updates on the missing girls. Isha will have reports throughout the days ahead, and she'll also anchor special editions of CNN News Center from Abuja. That starts Tuesday at 7:30 PM in London and Abuja, right here on CNN.

Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Just ahead, a Vatican delegation is questioned by a UN committee against torture. Find out what they asked the church and why. That's next.


WALKER: The Vatican is back in the hot seat in Geneva, facing tough questions over clerical sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. And today, the United Nations Committee Against Torture grilled representatives from the Holy See.

This comes after another UN committee issued a damning report earlier this year on the church's handling of the sex abuse crisis, accusing the church of being more concerned with its reputation than protecting the victims.

Let's bring in our Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher for more on what happened inside that meeting. She joins me now, live from Rome. And Delia, as we said, this is the second time the UN is grilling the Vatican on this child sex abuse. What was the investigation about now?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Amara, this morning's meeting, as you mentioned, was the UN Convention Against Torture, which is a treaty the Vatican signed in 2002, for which they must give periodic reports, along with other countries who are signatories of the treaty.

Now, the Vatican, in a statement last week, said that questions of sex abuse did not belong in the forum on torture. They said they've already responded to questions of sex abuse in January on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Obviously, this morning, the UN committee did not agree with the Vatican's view on that, because most of their hour and a half questioning did focus on the Vatican's sex abuse record.

The questioning was led by an American member of the UN committee, Ms. Felice Gaer, who focused on a number of points, including measures that the Vatican takes when a priest is found guilty of sex abuse, on sharing information with national authorities in prosecuting these crimes, on compensation for victims.

And she also got into questions about the Catholic Church's stance on abortion, in particular, in cases of rape or where the mother's health is in danger.

Now, the Vatican will have a chance tomorrow afternoon to respond to some of those questions, and then the UN will issue a final report with recommendations on May 23rd. Amara?

WALKER: All right, Delia Gallagher with the details there in Rome. Delia, thank you. And now, the Vatican has agreed to answer questions from the UN committee. However, the Holy See has said it doesn't think sex abuse is related to the torture convention. But abuse victims disagree.

Joining me now from London to discuss this is Jack Valero, the co- founder of Catholic Voices. So Jack, I want to first get your take on what has transpired thus far in this meeting.

JACK VALERO, CO-FOUNDER, CATHOLIC VOICES: Well, obviously, the Catholic Church takes abuse -- child abuse very seriously, as was shown in January, when it gave a big report. And it has been -- it has had a decade of abuse reform, which started with Benedict, with all the guidelines that he imposed.

And we now have in the UK and in the USA the guidelines which are best in the world, best of any organization. And the Vatican wants these kid of guidelines to be implemented all across the world. Some countries are taking their time and are too slow, but the process is ongoing.

And the latest thing is that Francis has established a commission of eight people, four of whom are women, to look at this problem. For me, the most interesting thing of all has been how he has told them -- he has not told them what they should do.

But he has given them a free and says look, you look at he Catholic Church, the history of what has happened in the past and what we have done to remedy it, and you tell us what else we must do.

It's obviously a work in progress, but what the commission is looking at is what the future is like. And among the people in the commission is Marie Collins, a victim herself of abuse, from Ireland. And she said at the -- they had their first meeting last week, Friday and Saturday, and she came out saying, well, she's full of hope that this committee will do something new.

WALKER: So, do you believe with the arrival of Pope Francis that this will usher in new change, more change, when it comes to the child sex abuse crisis?

VALERO: Well he's continuing the reforms of Pope Benedict in terms of guidelines and the legal thing, and cooperation with the civil authorities, which is now the norm everywhere in the world.

But he wants to go further and saying what else is missing? Because in a way, we have the procedures, we have the law, but are we looking after the victims well enough? The abuse was then, the pain is now. And this needs to be dealt with. And obviously, we're not dealing with it well enough, and that's why he has instituted this commission.

And there's a lot of hope that between these -- among these people which, as I said, includes four women, including one victim of abuse, and other people who are experts in the matter, they can actually look through the thing and say, well, this is what has been done so far. We have hope, but in the future, we need to do this and this. And I, personally, have great expectations from this group of people.

WALKER: So, tell us more about this commission, set up by Pope Francis. How exactly and specifically is this commission addressing child sex abuse?

VALERO: Well, here's the thing. The pope told them, I'm not going to give you the guidelines on how you must do your work. You must work out what you think the church should do. So, it's a free hand. So, that's really good.

But remember that the guidelines that were implemented, for example, here in the UK, they were put in place in 2001, and in the United States in 2002, and over this time, they've become best in the world.

The Vatican -- when Pope Benedict came here in 2010, he told the bishops, you've had guidelines here for eight years. We want these guidelines to be applicable all around the world, and we're telling the bishops all around the world to do the same as you did.

And also, you have to now help the rest of society. Here in England, we are reading in "The Times" every day about public schools, about the BBC, about Hollywood and this problem and the big cover-ups that were in place in the 80s and 90s.

And clearly, the whole of society has to tackle this problem, and the Catholic Church must lead that because it has had its own problems, which has put in the place the guidelines to deal with them for it not to happen again in the future.

WALKER: All right, Jack Valero, the co-founder of Catholic Voices, really appreciate your perspective. Thank you for joining us, Jack.

VALERO: Thank you.

WALKER: And coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, it's a Mexican sporting tradition that dates back to the early 20th century. We'll go inside the ring to slug it out with the big guys of Lucha Libre.


WALKER: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. You know, it's splashy, it's rowdy, and it's popular as ever. Lucha Libre wrestling turns 80 this year, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Nick Parker got an inside look at this Mexican mainstay.



NICK PARKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a show of top rope acrobatics, masked warriors, and a crowd whipped into a frenzy.

PARKER (on camera): It's Friday night in Mexico City, and for many loud fans here, that means Lucha Libre. It's become a cultural icon of Mexico, now celebrating its 80th anniversary.


PARKER (voice-over): Shocker, or 1,000 Percent Handsome, as he is also known, is one of the sport's biggest stars. He was unmasked a few years ago.

SHOCKER, LUCHADOR: Mexican people are used to the mask because our first wrestlers used to wear masks to come in the ring. They wanted to give the kids that mystic, that who's behind the mask? It started getting very, very popular because of the high-flying that we do.


PARKER: Lucha Libre, or Free Fight, rose to national prominence on the promoters CMLL. They say a lot has changed in 80 years.

SANDRA GRANADOS, CONSEJO MUNDIAL DE LUCH LIBRE (through translator): CMLL has signed a contract with Warner Brothers to manage all of the marketing of each fighter. They made several TV shows, so now we're broadcasting to countries like England, France, and some places in the Middle East.

PARKER: Warner Brothers, owned by Time-Warner, CNN's parent company, is by no means the only media company looking at expanding the sport.


PARKER: Film director, Robert Rodriguez, has launched El Rey, a new channel aimed at a growing Latino English-speaking market in the United States. The channel has struck a deal with another Lucha Libre promoter to cash in on what they say is a billion-dollar US wrestling industry.

JOHN FOGELMAN, CO-FOUNDER, EL REY: It's got nostalgia for a lot of people who grew up with it from earlier generations. The second thing that it has, it has the makings of great storytelling between having good and evil.

PARKER: Shocker is rudo, or bad guy. I asked him to go through the basics of what people needed to know about being a Luchador.

SHOCKER: You have to have a good entrance. You can either go over the ropes or you can come in between the ropes, you know?

PARKER: Things quickly took a turn for the worse.

PARKER (on camera): What does that mean, lock up?

SHOCKER: Lock up is to tie up. You know?


SHOCKER: Hand, here, here. Here's where we measure our strength. You push -- no, you've got to push hard. And you twist their arm, you know?

PARKER: Oh, yes, you twist the arm. Yes.

SHOCKER: Puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders.

PARKER: It has a little pinch to it.

SHOCKER: All you've got to do is sit there.

PARKER (voice-over): It was definitely time to leave.

Nick Parker, CNN, Mexico City.


WALKER: Wonder if Nick Parker is suffering from body aches now? Well, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear for you,, have your say on all of our stories.

All right, time now for today's Parting Shots, and a look at some sky- high luxury. Once, flying first class on an airline meant you got a slightly more comfortable seat. Well now, airlines offer enclosed spaces for first class passengers that resemble private rooms.

But Etihad Airways is taking it a step further by giving passengers three rooms. Etihad calls it The Residence. Here's the living room, with seats for two. Down a carpeted corridor, there's a bedroom and there's even a private bathroom, yes, with a shower.

It measures about 11.5 square meters in all. Tiny for a living space, but enormous -- right? -- compared to a cramped airline seat. But all that doesn't -- all that space doesn't come cheap. Flying in The Residence from Abu Dhabi to London costs about $20,000. So, that's about $2600 an hour. Yes, lots of luxury at a very steep price. I think I'll start saving now.

I'm Amara Walker and that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. Remember to join us at the same time tomorrow and all this week when Isha Sesay brings us the very latest on the search for those missing schoolgirls in Nigeria.