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Eight More Nigerian Girls Kidnapped; Interview with Amr Moussa; How Food Is Reshaping Peru; Donetsk Airport Reopens

Aired May 6, 2014 - 11:00   ET


ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are following reports of more girls kidnapped in Nigeria. CNN has learned that armed men from Boko Haram have stormed another village in the country's northeast.

I'm Isha Sesay in Abuja with the very latest.

ARAMA WALKER, HOST: ...will be eliminated. Egypt's top presidential candidate tells an interviewer what will happen to the group if he's elected.

And, in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, we explore one of the most unique natural wonders of the world, Jordan's Wadi Rum.

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

WALKER: And we begin now with new developments out of Nigeria. Residents of a village in the northeast tell CNN eight more girls have been abducted by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The attack happened in Borno state, the same area where almost 300 schoolgirls were taken last months.

An international wave of anger and disgust is growing against Boko Haram over the kidnapping. And now the United Nations has joined the growing chorus of those who have condemned the group.

The UN warns Boko Haram could be charged with crimes against humanity if it dares to sell off any of the abducted girls. The group's leader made that threat in this video released Monday.

Our Isha Sesay is in Abuja, Nigeria with the latest developments. Isha, what can you tell us about these latest reports of abductions?


What we're hearing is that Boko Haram militants stormed this village of Warabi (ph), which is in Borno State, the same state that those 200 plus girls were taken from just three weeks ago, but last night armed and in vehicles stormed this village where they raided homes, they took money, they took goods, but most worryingly of all, and most preciously of all, they took eight girls, we're being told. They took eight girls between the ages of 12 and 15. That information coming to us from a local resident.

All of this really just goes to show how Boko Haram appears to be emboldened and really is really expanding its capability.

This is all taking place in a state that is under a state of emergency and has been in that condition for the past couple of months and yet Boko Haram continue to act, some would say, with impunity. And, again, we're hearing now that eight girls have been abducted this coming on the heels of those 200 plus girls that were snatched from their schools some three weeks ago.

Well, since I landed in Nigeria, and anyone who has been following social media will tell you there has been growing crescendo of condemnation of the Nigerian government's failure to provide more information about what they are doing to get these girls back, speaking specifically about the 200 plus girls that were taken some three weeks ago here.

More and more people are asking the Nigerian government to show us with details what exactly they're doing, what they search and rescue operation looks like. Some even questioning the commitment of the government to this issue.

But yesterday on CNN, Nigeria's finance minister said bringing the girls, the kidnapped girls to safety, is the government's highest priority. Speaking with our own Richard Quest last night on Quest Means Business, she said Nigeria would welcome help from other nations.


NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA, NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTER: It's like if my daughter missing, every single one of those girls is my daughter. I wake up in the morning depressed when I know that they have not been brought back home. The president wakes up depressed, because he came from a poor family and without education he would never have been where he is today.

This is our problem. It has not to do with west, it has to do with us. And we will do everything possible. The president has pledged everything possible, you heard him. Every -- and every country, any country, anyone who can help us with support to find these girls, we don't mind. They should help us.


SESAY: Nigeria's finance minister there, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala saying that Nigeria is doing all they call following up on all leads. Nigerians want to know exactly what they have done when it comes to following up those leads, what some of that has been. Did they make it into the Sambisa Forest where it is believed those girls were taken in the aftermath of their kidnapping.

How many troops are committed to this? So many questions. Social media has been one place where people have been venting their frustration, their exasperation.

And people around the world have also been speaking out, celebrities like Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige. And today, this came into us at CNN just a short time ago, another well known voice adding her voice to the outcry, actress Angelina Jolie, she is a special envoy for the UN high commissioner for refugees. And in a statement exclusive to CNN, she warns, quote, "one of the root causes for the horror of these girls being kidnapped is the culture of impunity. The perpetrators believe they can get away with it. And if they do get away with this, with the world watching, then it sends a message to others that they too can commit similar attacks."

The words from Angelina Jolie adding her voice to the growing chorus of people putting pressure on the Nigerian government to do more.

The Nigerian government says they're doing all they can, but at this stage CNN, along with many others, are saying give us details of what that looks like. We want to know what exactly you are doing. We want to know how much progress has been made in this operation to date.

We continue to ask the questions. A little later on here on CNN I will be speaking with the senior special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan and I'll be putting some of those questions to him. So do tune in to CNN. Stay with us for that. And I'll be back a little later in this program with more. We're going to take you live to Washington where our own Athena Jones is standing by with protesters gathered in front of the Nigerian embassy where they are demanding the government bring back our girls. That's also the hashtag trending right around the world.

We're going to have more on the social media reaction. And as I said, I'll be anchor special editions of CNN News Center from here in Abuja, that starts at 7:30 pm in London and Abuja. It is right here on CNN.

But for now, it is back to Amara Walker at CNN Center with more on the days top stories -- Amara.

WALKER: That's really great to hear so many people are pressing the Nigerian government for more answers. Great work out there, Isha. We'll see you in just a few on this program. Isha, thank you.

All right, now to eastern Ukraine where after days of some of the most deadly clashes that claimed dozens of lives, an international diplomatic push is underway to diffuse the growing tensions. Here is the latest.

The crisis in Ukraine is expected to dominate today's meeting of the Council of Europe in Vienna. As funerals were held for victims of Friday's violent clashes in Odessa, Ukraine's acting president dismissed the regional governor. Meanwhile, the airport in Donetsk has reopened after it was closed earlier today.

For the very latest, let's go now to Arwa Damon who joins us live from Donetsk.

Arwa, the events have been fast moving. What can you tell us now?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They did. And we were asking aviation authorities about the decision to close the international airport here. And they would not give us an answer as to why that was taking place, which is just adding to the chaos and the uncertainty that exists here right now.

Donetsk is about two hours away from where the bulk of the government so-called anti-terrorism operation has been focused. That has been in the city of Slovyansk where government troops as they were trying to push forward clashing quite fiercely with the pro-Russian militants, causing casualties on both sides and casualties amongst the civilian population.

But that airport closure this morning causing a ripple of fear throughout this city that perhaps there was some sort of push in this direction. People wanting the government here, as well, to be more transparent about why it's taking these kinds of decisions, what it means, what sort of information did they have that caused them to close the airport, albeit just for a few hours as we found out later on in the day.

There's really this growing sense of unease throughout the population here about what the days ahead may hold for them.

WALKER: Yeah, and Arwa, can you talk a little bit more about this sentiment amongst the residents? You have this referendum scheduled for May 11, just days from now. The presidential election just weeks away. What are the residents saying? And are they preparing for a much larger clashes, or possibly are they afraid of a civil war breaking out?

DAMON: They're very afraid of it. They're absolutely terrified. They haven't been through anything like this before, nor have many of them dealt with this kind of violence.

As for the presidential elections, there's really very little talk of that here. When it comes to the May 11 referendum, of course the pro- Russian camp moving ahead with making preparations for that. Anyone who supports the pro-Russian side is most certainly making their voice heard. And theirs has been the loudest and most dominant voice in all of this, although not necessarily an accurate reflection of the sentiments of the population as a whole. There are a lot of people who lie in a middle ground where, yes they would like more autonomy from the central government in Kiev, but they don't necessarily want to break away entirely.

And then there's a chunk of the population that wants to remain a part of Ukraine, but is by and large too afraid to speak out.

Coupled with dealing with all of this, too, Amara, is that people's daily lives are beginning to be significantly affected not just by the violence, but by little things like trying to get money. Two key banks have shut down their branches in this region. And so people are really feeling the pressure and feeling the fear as each day goes by.

WALKER: Yeah, and as you mentioned, the Council of Europe Foreign Ministers are meeting right now in Vienna talking about the crisis in Ukraine, a way to diffuse the tensions. And we will have more on that in a live report later in the program. Arwa Damon, many thanks to you on that report.

Well, he led the military, which forced the Muslim Brotherhood out of power last year. Well, now Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is making new threats against the group if he becomes president. We have a live interview with a former Arab League secretary general and one time presidential candidate Amr Moussa, that's one of the architects of the nation's new constitution. We get his thoughts on Egypt's future. That's ahead.


WALKER: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Amara Walker. Welcome back.

Campaigning has kicked off in Egypt as voters head to the polls this month to elect their next leader. Former military ruler Abdel Fatah el- Sisi is set to face his only challenger, Hamdeen Sabahi (ph) at the polls. In this first interview since announcing his candidacy, el-Sisi is making his agenda very clear, vowing to finish off the Muslim Brotherhood.

For more on that interview, let's bring in Reza Sayah who is live in Cairo. Reza, quite strong and really ominous words from el-Sisi.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, but really no surprise that he is going to be tough on the Muslim Brotherhood with three weeks to go before election day here in Egypt, the campaigning is slowly starting to pick up pace. Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, the former army chief, made his first ever television appearance as a candidate late last night. It seemed to be a very accommodating interview, if you will. It was not live, it was taped. The two anchors posing the questions didn't seem to want to pose Mr. Sisi any difficult questions on the tough issues like alleged human rights violations, the thousands of prisoners in Egypt's jails and the controversial protest law banning Egyptians from protesting without government permission.

Now Mr. Sisi did talk about the Muslim Brotherhood. If anyone thought that he planned on reaching out and reconciling with the Brotherhood if he were to be elected, he made it clear that's not going to happen. Let's listen to what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): So when the Egyptian people will vote for you for president, that's on the basis that you will finish off the Muslims Brotherhood as a group?

ABDEL FATAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Yes, just like this. You know why? I said it in the beginning of my interview, they warned me that jihadi fighters will come from Syria, from Afghanistan, that fighters will come from Libya, fighters will come from all over the world, they will come and fight us, the Egyptian people, to fight us the military in defense of the Muslim Brotherhood.

No, by god, I will never allow such a thing to happen for anyone to dare to terrorize the people, to scare them while we, the military, exist. I said it in a previous speech, let's just go ahead and die, it will be much better off before I let the Egyptian people sit in their homes frightened. No, no, no.


SAYAH: Obviously some serious allegations against the Muslim Brotherhood by Mr. Sisi. WE should point out that the Brotherhood has repeatedly denies any links to terrorism over the past 10 months. They continue to accuse Mr. Sisi of leading the coup that toppled Egyptian's first freely elected president last year in Mohamed Morsy.

We should also point out that two hours north of Cairo last night, Mr. el-Sisi's lone opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, the leftist former politician, he had a very raucous rally with his supporters. This is a man who is running on a platform pushing more workers' rights, the release of political prisoners, Amara. And he says if he were to be elected president, he would get rid of that controversial protest law.

But he's a heavy underdog. I think everyone is going to be shocked here in Egypt if he was to win the election in about three weeks.

WALKER: Reza, over the past few weeks you've been reporting on this climate of fear there in Egypt. We've seen this crackdown on the Muslims Brotherhood, anybody associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists, your colleagues, as well as youth groups. Are their voices, in effect, silenced in the upcoming elections?

SAYAH: Well, it's not clear what we're going to see in the next three weeks leading up to the elections, but we can tell you that the voice of dissent in general over the past 10 months has been pretty much stifled and muted and I think that's the outcome of this brutal crackdown by Egyptian authorities that's led to the arrest of more than 16,000 people, according to rights groups, many of them journalists, many of them pro-democracy activists and the deaths of more than 2,500 people.

When you talk to Egyptians, you meet some that are very concerned about where the country is going, but they also say -- they also suggest, that they're not comfortable speaking out.

So again, the voice of dissent stifled at this time. We're going to see what the next three weeks bring as we head towards election day on May 26.

WALKER: And just quickly, Reza, a voice of dissent being stifled, you say. Are you seeing ahead of the elections, which are just, what two -- a few weeks away or so, are you seeing more of a crackdown before these elections take place?

SAYAH: Well, the protests have certainly diminshed. We're not seeing protests. And that's a result of the crackdown. There were certainly a lot of people arrested. And I think many people are afraid to come out and demonstrate, a stark contrast to the 2012 elections where you had five candidates representing a broad spectrum of the political landscape, lots of demonstrations for candidates in support. You're not seeing that this time around, Amara.

WALKER: Reza say there live in Cairo. Reza, thank you.

And that statement Reza was talking about from Abdel Fatah el-Sisi symbolizes the zero tolerance approach some expect from a man who made his name in the military.

Let's bring in Amr Moussa, Egypt's one time foreign minister and former secretary general of the Arab League. He was also a presidential candidate after the fall of Hosni Mubarak and chaired the committee that drafted Egyt's new constitution. He joins me now from Washington.

Mr. Moussa, really appreciate your time. And thank you joining us.


WALKER: So, I want to first get your take on el-Sisi's comments, his plans to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood if he were elected.

MOUSSA: No, he did not say that he intends to eradicate, but he said and supported by all of us that he cannot tolerate the sowing havoc with the security of Egyptians, or the violence used against the society or terrorism. And this is a very important commitment by the candidate. The security of the people, the security of Egypt is under severe threat. So it's not a question of eradicating the Muslim Brotherhood, but eradicating the violent elements and the terrorists that are coming from several directions to threaten the Egyptians. This will be the responsibility of the next president and the next government, to secure the people and to put an end of this wave of violence and wave of terrorism.

WALKER: But anyone who has been even remotely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood has been detained, hundreds of them we've seen mass sentences. Mr. Moussa, you chaired the committee that rewrote Egypt's constitution. I want to go back to el-Sisi's remarks that he said the Muslim Brotherhood will not exist. Is that constitutional, according to this constitution that you helped rewrite?

MOUSSA: The constitution will be applied and implemented through laws to be legislated by the next parliament. And those laws will have to protect the people, their security and their well-being. Terrorism is threatening our country and it is not a question of taking a position vis a vis a certain group or political trend, but vis a vis terrorists and those who perpetrate violence. That's it. This is the responsibility of any government in order to launch a new page -- open a new page in the history of Egypt, rebuilding, dealing with the economic problems, with social problems.

The terrorism and terrorists do not allow us to move on. And it is indeed very important for the next president and the next government to stand firm against terrorists, against violence, against all kinds of crimes, this is the point.

It is not a question of eradicating, or taking a certain political position, it is the responsibility of the government to deal with terrorism and violence. And I believe this is understood across the board in the world.

How come that any government would accept such havoc inflicted on us and on our society by those violent elements and terrorist persons that now, as you see on the TV, if there is a good reporting and fair reporting that they are threatening the universities, the students, the families, the streets, the villages.

WALKER: OK. Mr. Amr Moussa, really appreciate your time. Thank you for that interesting conversation.

MOUSSA: Thank you.

WALKER: Well, we've got the runup to the Egypt election covered online both on and our sister site CNN Arabic. Find out why Abdel Fatah el-Sisi opposes the Muslim Brotherhood so strongly. He also describes how he survived two assassination attempts and won't risk another.

Keep up to date with all the news out of Egypt and around the Middle East and North Africa at CNN

Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, South Africans head to the polls tomorrow for the national election. The African National Congress is leading the polls, but how will the scandal about President Jacob Zuma's expensive home affect the vote?


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

It used to be a rundown neighborhood in Peru's capital Lima. Well, now Lamar is getting a facelift led by famous Peruvian chef and TV personality Gaston Acurio. The avenue is now a hotspot for dining out.

And as John Defterios reports in this weeks One Square Meter, investors and developers want a piece of the pie.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you think about food, you don't think about an urban catalyst able to transform a neighborhood, yet in the case of Peru what's on the table seems to be driving the menu of what happens on the streets.

Four blocks from the sea, The Avenue Marascal La Mar (ph) in the district of Mira Flores (ph) in Lima has experienced exactly that. What used to be 13 blocks of car shops and mechanic stores is now the focal point of the Peruvian food revolution.

GASTON ACURIO, CHEF: Before I say never before in history food had so much power than today in the world. So when a nice restaurants arrive to an unknown area for restaurants, things could change

DEFTERIOS: A change that saw the arrival of more than 40 restaurants dedicated to seafood and Peruvian cuisine to the La Mar street. This evolution spans a little more than a decade-and-a-half. And in that period of time, values went up about 20 percent, 700 dollars to 2,800 dollars or 3,200 a square meter depending on the location.

JORGE MUNOZ (through translator): It's a beautiful and attractive place where those car shops are leaving and giving way to restaurants and now even office buildings that are being built there. And towards the end of La Mar street, one can find an old place called (inaudible). That place has been demolished. And in that place, the plan is to build an urban complex with apartments and office buildings, parks and cultural spaces and services in general. This space has been designed by the French architect Jean Nobel (ph).

DEFTERIOS: An injection of money valued at $680 million that will transform a better than 68,000 square meter property into a five star hotel, a convention center, a cultural center and housing. The investment by local companies GMV and RB (ph) is the latest addition to a street that is leading the change generated by Peruvian cuisine.

ACURIO: I think it's a great example of the moment of Peru. La Mar is vibrancy, is free, is creative, is proud, it's like Peruvians we are now.

DEFTERIOS: A present where food is a passion and a powerful force that can transform neighborhoods like the one surrounding Avenue La Mar and having pleasure while doing it.

John Defterios, CNN.


WALKER: The latest world news headlines just ahead. Plus, is there a peaceful way out of the turmoil in Ukraine? Top diplomats meet in Vienna to find out.

And we'll be back live in Abuja with Isha Sesay. She'll look at how protesters around the world are expressing their solidarity with those schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria.

Also, the message you want to send both to their parents and to the Nigerian government.


WALKER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. A resident of a village in northeastern Nigeria tells CNN eight girls have been abducted there by armed me.

The attack happened in Borno state, the same area where almost 300 schoolgirls were taken by Boko Haram militants last month. Some of the students managed to escape their captors. About 220 are still being held.

Campaigning is underway in Egypt as the country prepares for presidential elections this month. Former military chief and presidential candidate Abdul Fattah el-Sisi gave an interview to two Egyptian satellite channels, and in it, he vows to finish off the Muslim Brotherhood if he is elected.

Oscar Pistorius's murder trial has adjourned until Thursday. Today, close neighbors of Pistorius testified they heard a man screaming in a high-pitched voice the night Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp. The defense is trying to prove that Pistorius mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is attending a meeting of the Council of Europe, where the Ukrainian crisis is dominating the agenda. Russia has been calling for dialogue to resolve the crisis, and Kiev says Russia is behind the unrest.

And let's return now to Nigeria, where we are following reports suspected Boko Haram gunmen have kidnapped eight more girls. Let's bring in our Isha Sesay, who has been following all of this from Abuja. Isha, what can you tell us?

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Amara. CNN still working to get more details on this incident, this mass abduction, if you will, that took place in Warabe village, which is in Borno state, the same state where those 200-plus girls were snatched some three weeks ago.

What we know at this stage, which is coming to us from a local resident, is that this incident happened on Monday evening. That is what we have been told, that this took place on Monday evening, where armored men in vehicles, suspected of being Boko Haram militants, raided this village, taking money, taking goods, and most preciously of all, taking eight girls, aged between 12 and 15.

You can only imagine the terror and the heartbreak in that region right now, for this to come so soon after the heels of 200-plus girls that are still missing, and the government having admitted in that instance that they do not know where these girls are.

More and more people on the ground here in Nigeria calling for more to be done. But the government saying they are doing all they can. People now saying, well, give us details. Give us details of what that actually looks like. We want to know how much you are doing. We want to know what the specifics are of the operation.

It's not just people here in Nigeria that are raising their voices. Also in Washington, DC, protesters there are gathered outside the Nigerian embassy there, rallying right now, also with the same cry, we want more details, more must be done.

Let's bring in our Athena Jones. She's there, she joins us now. Athena, set the scene for us. What's happening where you are?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Isha. I can tell you that since the last time we talked, several more people have showed up. We now have more than 200 people who have been outside the Nigerian embassy, marching, chanting, delivering remarks and protesting.

We've just noticed some officials have emerged from the embassy. We don't yet know who they are or what they may be saying, but the whole idea here today is to put the pressure on the ambassador from Nigeria, the top Nigerian representative here in America, Adebowale Adefuye.

And so, they want to put pressure on him to send the message to President Goodluck Jonathan that more needs to be done to save these girls, and more information needs to be shared about just what the Nigerian government is doing to try to get these girls rescued.

We've heard chants as they've marched, "Enough is enough," "Child marriage is rape," "All girls matter," and of course, "Bring back our girls," that's the social media campaign we've been hearing so much about.

And I should mention to you that this entire protest was organized via social media, via Twitter and Facebook. Folks are out here carrying signs, singing "Bring back our girls," wearing t-shirts saying "Bring back our girls." They're demanding answers.

And we don't know yet what these Nigerian officials are going to be saying to the crowd if they do come out, but we'll be closely watching it, Isha.

SESAY: All right, our Athena Jones there on the ground in Washington. Athena, we do appreciate it. I want to take this moment just to tell you what the Nigerian government is saying specifically about their efforts in that region of Borno state, where those girls were kidnapped.

They're saying they're doing everything they can, that they're following up on every lead. The president speaking on camera for the first time about the situation on Sunday saying they're using helicopters, they're using aircraft to scan the area.

But what we didn't hear is, did they go into the Sambisa Forest. That was unclear to me after listening to the president. What they also did not say is how many troops are dedicated to this effort, what leads they have followed up on.

The girls that managed to escape, the 53 girls we've been told managed to escape from their abductors, have they spoken to them? What information have they given up? There are so many elements to this that we do not have answers to?

Did they go into that Sambisa Forest? People on the ground are telling CNN that they did not. So, CNN, along with many others in this country, are asking for answers to those questions, as are a number of high-profile people who are also throwing their weight behind the Bring Back Our Girls movement.

Samuel Burke is tracking the campaign online, and he joins me now, live from New York. Samuel, what are you seeing online?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, now that Nigerians have successfully used hash tag #BringBackOurGirls to organize protests, like we've just seen, and get the world's attention, many are asking, what will they do next? Can "clicktivism," this social media activism, really make a difference?

And our colleague, Bill Weir, spoke to one man who has actually been in this position. He's the activist and director behind Kony 2012, that YouTube video that went incredibly viral, and asked him what advice he can offer to Nigerians.


JASON RUSSEL, FOUNDER AND CEO, INVISIBLE CHILDREN: I think a hash tag is a tool. It's a powerful tool, which should start a real conversation. And that conversation should manifest into answers that the international community and everyone in between should be coming up with. We shouldn't allow any abductions happen of any children, no matter where they are in the world.

And I think these are dark, complicated, sad issues that people don't want to face or realize. So, it inspires me to wake up and see tens of thousands of people actually talking about these abductions in Nigeria. And we believe that it's not about what we start, it's how we finish this fight.


BURKE: Isha, the Nigerians incredibly socially savvy on social media, and it's the most internet-connected country in Africa. They knew very well that this would just be the start, social media, but would not be the finish.

So, I think that they have what the wanted to achieve, the world's attention via the media and foreign governments looking to Nigeria to offer assistance.

SESAY: Yes, Samuel Burke, thank you, we appreciate all that you're doing as you follow this online for us. People are also taking CNN to iReports to demand the government take action to bring the girls home. Let's share this with you.

Emmanuel is a Nigerian living in Qatar. He says in this iReport photo showing him holding up a sign pleading for the government to take action, it says "I have a girl child. She means the world to me." Hash tag #BringBackOurGirls.

And another iReporter sent this photo. She's a Nigerian graduate student living in Germany, and she said, "I'm deeply affected by this tragedy, especially with the length of time it is taking the government of Nigeria to come forth with a positive result."

And Millicent posted this image. She's a radio presenter in Nigeria and says the abducted girls are a constant topic of discussion on her station.

Log onto iReport and add your story to our coverage.

Now, one of the top stories online right now lays out the six reasons why the world should demand action. From Boko Haram's ties to al Qaeda to what many are calling Nigeria's feeble response to how this would be felt well beyond Nigeria's border.

It's the context you need to really understand the story, to really go behind the headlines. And of course, you will find it on And Amara, I'll be here throughout the day reporting from Abuja.

I'll be hosting my show, "CNN News Center" live from Abuja. We'll be bringing the special editions throughout the week a little later on at 7:30 PM in London and Abuja. We're going to be speaking to a special assistant to the president to ask him many of these questions that we all have on our minds and we are so desperate to get answers for. But for now, back to you, Amara.

WALKER: Isha, before you go, this international pressure that we've been seeing building over the past few days really started with the families who were protesting. It started with a grassroots movement demanding action, more action from the government to bring back our girls.

What have the families been saying so far about this surge? And how has the government been communicating with these families, who really want information?

SESAY: That's a very important part of the story that we should share with our viewers. I've been speaking to a local source who has been communicating with families in that area in Chibok, in Borno state, where these 200-plus girls were taken.

And they told our local source that they had not had much communication with the government. That is what we have been told, that there has been very intermittent communication between the government in terms of briefing them on what they are doing to bring their children home.

Which is what has created this sense of unease, this sense of mistrust. And truly, for some people, it's just a feeling of utter disappointment.

Also, when it comes to the search for the girls, we are being told by a local source that in the immediate aftermath, there was very little activity that they could detect on the part of Nigerian security forces going out and looking for these girls. That's what we're being told.

They have said, though, that in recent days, there has been an uptick in activity, in movement of convoys moving into the area, but they're saying that that is very much a belated thing, that it only has happened in the last couple of days.

Again, all of these are questions that we want to put to the Nigerian government and get some perspective, get their side of things. And we hope to have the opportunity to speak to that government official a little later on here on CNN. Amara?

WALKER: All right, Isha Sesay, live there in Abuja. Isha, thank you so much for that.

Well, let's get more, now, on the talks in Vienna, the Europe of council, or council of foreign ministers there in Vienna. They're talking, trying to find a solution to this crisis in Ukraine. Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is monitoring the meeting from our Moscow Bureau. Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amara, thanks very much. Well, in fact, you joined me here on a square in the center of the Russian capital called Bolotnaya Square, where some protesters have gathered to mark two years since the mass protests that took place against the government of Vladimir Putin just after he was elected in 2012.

Back then, there were tens of thousands of people that gathered on these streets in opposition to the curbs on individual freedoms that had been imposed by Vladimir Putin and his predecessor in the presidency, of course, Dmitry Medvedev.

Today, you can see, just a few hundred people have turned out. And part of the reason of that is that there's been much harsher measures, bans have been put on rallies like this. In fact, this rally itself was banned by the Moscow City Hall, people told that they'd be arrested and there'd be harsh measures if they turned out.

And so what they've done, these few hundred people that have made the effort to come out today, is they're saying this is a silent protest. They're not carrying any placards, they're not chanting any slogans.

Some of them are wearing white ribbons, which say something like "freedom for the heroes of May the 6th," referring back to two years ago, when 27 people were arrested in those mass protests, 18 of them are still in custody, a number of them still awaiting trial. So, very harsh sentences passed against those individuals.

But of course, the situation in Russia has changed dramatically, particularly as events in eastern Ukraine continue, particularly as the sort of sense of nationalism in this country rises.

In fact, a recent opinion poll put the popularity of Vladimir Putin extremely high, indeed, for the Levada Center, which is an independent polling organization here in Russia, said the approval rating across the country for Vladimir Putin was now somewhere in the region of 82 percent. So, extremely high approval for Vladimir Putin. Two years ago, that was not the case. Amara?

WALKER: There is this concern in -- around Ukraine amongst the Western countries that Russia may use the violence that's happening in eastern Ukraine as a pretext to invade Ukraine. What's the feeling there?

CHANCE: Well, I think that that's a sense that's shared amongst many people that are watching this situation. I mean, certainly, Russia has built its own narrative when it comes to explaining the situation that's taking place in eastern Ukraine and southern Ukraine as well. Remember, the killings in Odessa have really highlighted the fact that southern Ukraine is also the center of attention.

What they're saying is that there is a human rights catastrophe underway, that right-wing groups, ultra-nationalists, neo-Nazis are orchestrating the violence against peace-loving ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in the east of the country.

And on that basis, they're kind of preparing the ground potentially, psychologically, and trying to justify the possibility of them intervening as peacekeepers. Remember they've got tens of thousands of troops, as many as 40,000 just across the border in western Russia.

And at any moment, they could be ordered to go across and take possession of those areas of eastern Ukraine. At the moment, they haven't done that, but it remains very, very much a possibility. Amara?

WALKER: It sure does. Matthew Chance with the latest there in Moscow. Matthew, thank, you for that live report.

Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Young South Africans born after the first multiracial election look forward to voting for the first time. The details are ahead.


WALKER: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Amara Walker. South Africans head to the polls Wednesday, the first national election since Nelson Mandela's death last December. President Jacob Zuma's African National Congress party is expected to sweep the vote.

But there are concerns and growing frustrations with the government. Critics say it has grown arrogant after 20 years in power. But some young South Africans are excited about the vote. They were born around the time of the first multiracial election in 1994. They're called "Born Frees." Robyn Curnow met a member of that generation to learn what this vote means to her.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She says she was born for this. Nonkululeko's first name means "freedom" in Zulu. She shares her last name with South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, although they're not related.

She came into the world on the even of the country's first democratic elections. "It's a good time now," she says. "There's water. There's electricity. It's because of the ANC."

Twenty years later, she's campaigning for Zuma's ruling party in the hills of her birth and in the shadow of his rural homestead in Nkandla.

Nkandla itself is a political lightning road after the state watchdog agency alleged more than $20 million of taxpayer money was misused in improvements to the sprawling complex. For his part, Zuma has denied any wrongdoing.

But here, in rural KwaZulu-Natal, far away from the public protectors' investigation, those allegations and denials matter very little. Loyalty to the liberation's party and its leader remains strong.

ACHILLE MBEMBE, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND: In fact, they see it as part of the perks of the ruler.

CURNOW: And while the polls show the ruling ANC and Zuma are expected to carry around 60 percent of the vote, in the cities, analysts say discontent is growing.

MBEMBE: Many people are beginning to understand that the struggle today is not the same as the struggle yesterday.

MMUSI MAIMANE, DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE: Talk about the future of South Africa!

CURNOW: Mmusi Maimane is a leader of the Democratic Alliance, South Africa's largest opposition party.

MAIMANE: They can be doctors, they can be lawyers, they can roll their sleeves up.


CURNOW: In the first election after Nelson Mandela's death, he said identifying with young voters is more crucial than ever.

MAIMANE: I think that generation is vital. It's a generation of South Africans that -- what is a real great pity now is that only a few of them have been registered to vote, so it becomes hard.

CURNOW: Nonkululeko will also miss out on Wednesday's vote, one of the many young South Africans born without birth certificates and unable to register. "I'm very upset," she says. "I want my ID. I want to vote. But when I go to the government office, they always tell me to come back."

Growing pains continue in this still very young democracy. But so, too, a strong connection to its political past.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Johannesburg, South Africa.


WALKER: Now, the economy remains high on President Jacob Zuma's agenda, but it won't be easy to tackle as the country's economy faces several challenges. John Defterios is our emerging markets editor. He joins me now from Abu Dhabi with more. John?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Thanks, Amara. In fact, South Africa's long had this lead economically, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa, but there are other, more sexier countries on the long list here.

And Jacob Zuma, if he wins this second term as expected, has three major economic challenges. Number one is growth. They've entered this kind of new normal in South Africa where it's very difficult to get growth above 2.5 percent.

In fact, the finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, suggested that trying to get to 3 percent will be a challenge, and the IMF actually agreed by lowering its forecasts to 2.3 percent, down a half a percent.

Unemployment, look at the rate here: 25 percent, less than 50 percent of the eligible workers in the country have a job. And let's not forget in the past year we've seen the mining strikes taking place in South Africa, and there still exists the labor disputes are still on the table right now. And this is making it a struggle for South Africa to grow.

Just back in 2010, they held that major event, the World Cup. They invested in infrastructure, but it hasn't fed into growth. And I mentioned that there are other countries on the radar for investors. They include Ethiopia, with its high population; Angola, with the natural resources.

But if you go head-to-head competition, let's bring up the graph here of Nigeria and the re-basing of its GDP in April, bringing in the services along with energy. And then zoom to better than a half a trillion dollars vis-a-vis South Africa, $325 billion.

We've been reporting on the challenges that Goodluck Jonathan's having in the north, with Boko Haram and the wealth gap. But if you look at investors, they're very -- warming up to the fact that Nigeria's population of 170 million consumers right now, growth of 7 percent, stacked up against South Africa's been much better.

So, after 20 years of rule of the ANC, what's left in the bag of magic tricks to get growth moving again? This is the big challenge for the term of Jacob Zuma after the election that takes place tomorrow. They don't see it, investors, as very business-friendly in this sort of climate, Amara.

WALKER: Yes. All right, John Defterios, live there for us in Abu Dhabi. John, thank you.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, Wadi wonderland. We're up, up and away in a stunning desert landscape. Stay with us as the team from CNN'S "Inside the Middle East" takes us on a tour of Jordan's natural wonders.


WALKER: Welcome back. In tonight's Parting Shots, we visit one of the most remote places in the region, Wadi Rum in Jordan, where British army officer TE Lawrence fought during World War I. It's the backdrop to Hollywood blockbusters, but it's not the easiest place to film in, as our Jon Jensen discovered.


JON JENSEN, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): Wadi Rum in Jordan is one of the most stunning places in the world. When Lawrence of Arabia was here nearly a century ago, he called this place "vast, echoing, and God-like." The challenge for us was, how do you capture that beauty for television, or that size?

Our cameraman, Allasdair Skene, managed to film Wadi Rum from nearly every angle: up high -- and even down on the ground. Well, sort of. We also left small cameras out in the desert, sometimes for the entire day.

JENSEN (on camera): Right now, our cameraman, Allasdair Skene, is up on one of the mountains securing a GoPro to a rock. We're going to try to keep that out here all day.

ALLASDAIR SKENE, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST: So, we've hidden our camera out in the rocks here. Just taping it up to keep it steady.

JENSEN (voice-over): Afterwards, we left, not knowing what our images would look like, or if we'd ever be able to find the camera again. But about seven hours later, we came back.

JENSEN (on camera): All right. Well, we're going to see if our GoPro A, recorded, and B, if it's still there. Yes.

JENSEN (voice-over): We managed to find it.

JENSEN (on camera): Is that rolling?

JENSEN (voice-over): And this is what we captured. No wonder Lawrence called this place "vast, echoing, and God-like."


WALKER: That is just beautiful. And you can see more stunning images from Wadi Rum tomorrow on a special CNN "Inside the Middle East." Tune in at 1:30 PM in Abu Dhabi -- that's 10:30 AM in London -- to find out how one of the region's traditional residents is making a successful comeback.

I'm Amara Walker and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for watching.