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CONNECT THE WORLD

28 Dead In Militant Attack of Karachi Airport; On the Hunt for Boko Haram; Sao Paulo Metro Workers Remain On Strike; Destruction In Aleppo

Aired June 9, 2014 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Once a commercial powerhouse and Syria's biggest city, now a shattered shell of its former self.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to understand quite how universal the destruction is here until you stand in

the middle of it. I was here two years ago and there was a sense of normality...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Get you an exclusive look at Aleppo where what life remains exists at the edge of humanity.

Also ahead, carnage at Karachi's airport. We'll examine the difficulties of daily life in another city on the edge.

And in search of Nigeria's stolen children. We've got an unprecedented look at what's now an international search.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is 7:00 here in the UAE. Syrian news agency Sanaa reports that President Bashar al-Assad has issued a

general amnesty for crimes committed before today.

Now the decree commutes the death sentence to life with hard labor. and those serving life will see their term reduced to 20 years. It also

grants amnesty to foreigners who, quote, "entered Syria with the purpose of joining a terrorist group if they turn themselves in."

Well, few western journalists have seen the impact that the fighting has had like our Nick Paton Walsh He was recently in Aleppo and has

brought back stunning images of the destruction there.

He joins us now from Beirut with more. And Nick, we'll get to that report in a moment. First, a look at that amnesty.

This isn't the first time that Assad has issued an amnesty since the beginning of this civil war.

In the past, only a fraction of detainees were reported released. So what do we know of the details of this amnesty this time?

WALSH: Well, we simply know that there is yet another potential hand that is extending the olive branch to some rebels. They won't really

believe this, though.

20 prisoners it's being claimed have been killed recently in a regime jail. So the great fear and uncertainty, and of course loathing, too,

amongst many rebels.

So this simply I don't think changes much on the battlefield, but it feeds into the broader narrative that the Assad regime is trying to sustain

here, which is they are militarily making progress and they also want perhaps to be seen to be imposing their own political solution on the

battlefield here.

In Homs, that mean the policy of starve and surrender, forcing out rebels with the lack of food, cutting off where they were fighting

entirely. That lead some to simply agree to pull back. This is not really, though, a truce. This is simply creating situations where it's

impossible for rebels and their supporters to sustain life and then getting them to leave.

So pertaining to the amnesty like this feeds into that broader narrative, although rebels do insist they still have the potential to

retake some of the ground they're losing -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick, Syrians living in rebel held areas like Aleppo, for example, have received some desperately needed aid. You were there,

though, recently. Just describe for our viewers what you found?

WALSH: Well, it's a bizarre pocket of kind of half-sustained life. There are areas where suddenly you'll see a market full of tomatoes and

then areas where the barrel bombing, the intense sort of industrial scale of bombardment have emptied all the human beings out of that area.

And they seem to move around. Some areas are targeted, people move away from there, and then the areas of the populations are a target as

well. It clearly a very extensive campaign here -- hourly, daily we are told by helicopters with these crude explosive devices to force rebels and

their supporters, all civilian human life, out of rebel held areas of Aleppo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: Head to Aleppo and the scale of its catastrophe quickly dawns. The future comes from it. This is what the edge of humanity looks like,

ground to dust, the smell of burning plastic at every turn. The Syrian regime is trying to encircle those remaining areas of Aleppo still held by

the rebels. But months of pounding by heavy artillery and barrel bombs mean that in streets like this, life has already been extinguished.

Here's how. This building was hit in the dead of night by a barrel bomb, huge crudely made scrap metal and TNT randomly dropped from a

helicopter. Survivors look up fearing them and look through what they have done. When there is so little left to live from, even the remains of murder

are prized. Seven died here, we're told.

Aleppo is dying, a city of 2 million, now in rebel areas down to mere thousands. We meet a British doctor working in Syria for two years now with

severe burns to his leg from being bombed six weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The planes come. We duck down, and they just hit us with a bomb. I didn't feel anything. Next thing, I was waking up and I

couldn't feel my leg. Everything was burning around me. They took me to a hospital. And next thing I realized that I lost the whole skin, the whole

leg.

WALSH: Can you describe the pain?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbearable. I can't sleep. I can't eat. I can't do anything. The attacks every single day, every single hours. We

cannot bear it anymore.

There's no people anymore. I mean, if you can go around the city you'll find there's no people, no cats, no insects, there's nothing left.

WALSH: Some are so young, this will be among their first memories. Why a sniper shot five-year-old Mohammed, he will never know. He was sitting

watching cartoons on TV in his home at the time.

What can his mother say?

"What's wrong with the sniper's eyes?" She says. "Was he blind? Could he not see it was my child?" The bullet went in here and out here.

On the outskirts, trash burns, the smoke of a city rising, leaving behind those who cannot leave who must find life in its embers.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH; Now many still left in those rebel held areas fear that imminently the Syrian regime could cut off that one road to the north that

allows food in, refugees out, the injured out, medical supplies in. That will then leave these people with very little help. Aid agencies trying to

plan to assist them. We hear from international aid officials that they reckon there are about 300,000 people left in those rebel held areas. That

is nothing compared to a city whose population used to be 2.5 million. It's now half that.

But the vast majority living in regime held areas where bombardment is significantly less. As you saw there, rebel areas simply being ground to

dust, Becky.

ANDERSON: That's remarkable stuff.

Nick, thank you. Nick reporting there for you out of Beirut today, but from Syria just in the past couple of days.

The hell that Nick witnessed in Aleppo is explained in graphic detail online. To get the full picture of what he experienced, you can head to

CNN.com to read his reporter's notebook. I absolutely suggest you do that.

Pakistan's biggest and busiest airport has now reopened after an overnight siege that saw 28 people killed. The assault began late Sunday

when heavily armed militants stormed the cargo area. Now the government says that the attack was intended to bring down Pakistan's aviation

industry.

Well, Pakistan Taliban have claimed responsibility and its leader has warned that more attacks will follow.

CNN's Saima Mohsin has the details for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A bold and brazen attack in the heart of Pakistan's largest city Karachi on its international

airport. Terrified passengers trapped on board planes and in the airport terminal as militants attacked terminal one.

New details emerging from last night's attack at Pakistan's largest airport that left at least 28 people dead. A report submitted by

authorities says terrorists were aiming to destroy all airplanes near a terminal.

Militants entering Karachi international airport from two different entrances, armed with guns, grenades and suicide vests. The group took

over a cargo area right next to where commercial planes take off and began firing.

Smoke and flames could be seen near planes and gunfire and explosions rang out as police and security forces battled with the attackers.

Five hours after the attack began, a Pakistani military spokesman tells CNN all 10 militants were killed, two of them detonated suicide

vests.

The Pakistan Taliban claims the attack was in retaliation for the death of their former chief Hakimullah Mehsud who was killed in a U.S.

drone strike in November 2013.

Questions now being raised about Pakistan's intelligence officials and whether the country is really able to deal with the menace of terrorism.

The security forces were, of course, able to respond to this attack, but just why aren't intelligence officials able to identify and track down

these groups before they carry them out.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Karachi, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, let's not lose sight of the fact that this is Pakistan's busiest airport, serving Pakistan's biggest city. And it is a

long way from what is the Taliban heartland.

Coming up a little later this hour, we're going to explore why Karachi could be vulnerable to attacks like this. CNN's Leone Lakhani knows the

city well and she'll join me here to discuss hardships of daily life there and the growing threat from extremists.

Well, in Ireland, there has been more pressure for an independent inquiry after the remains of nearly 800 children, some just infants, were

found in a mass grave at a former home for unmarried mothers.

Now the home was run by nuns, the Sisters of Bon Secours, and the children are believed to have died between 1925 and 1961.

Well, the discovery has sparked outrage and prompted thousands of people to sign a petition demanding an investigation into how the Catholic

church treated unmarried mothers and their children.

CNN's Atika Shubert is there for us. And she joins us now.

Atika, what do we know at this point?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually some of the details becoming a little bit more clear. There isn't actually a

mass grave that they've dug up here. In fact, I'm standing in front of the area where there's a small memorial here where they believe some of these

children were buried.

Now, what has sparked all this is that a local historian found records, requested records to find out how many children had been born and

died in this particular home. And over the course of those 40 years, those four decades or so, she found that 796 children had died. Now that's a

staggering number.

We don't know exactly, though, where those children were buried. And that is the mystery now that people want to have cleared up. And there

have been a number of requests by local lawmakers to have a formal investigation to find out what happened to those children, how they died

and were they given a proper burial and of course how were these homes run.

You have to remember this most recent scandal comes in a long string of other scandals associated with a number of state funded Catholic run

institutions. And that's part of why there's so much outrage at this point about this case, Becky.

ANDERSON: Atika Shubert reporting for you.

Well, still to come tonight, tracking Nigeria's most wanted terrorists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAMON: The dense vegetation that makes it so challenging when it comes to searching for Boko Haram's camps or even the missing schoolgirls.

It's that islands like this one, for example, are populated by small clusters of homes. Boko Haram, the schoolgirls, could easily be amongst

the local population.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: In an exclusive report, CNN's Arwa Damon visits the island where Boko Haram may be hiding.

Also, Brazilians strike but not the footballing kind. Why subway workers are staying off the job in Sao Paulo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All right. Welcome back. You're with CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

So in Pakistan, the country's biggest and busiest airport has now reopened after an overnight siege. At least 28 people, including 10

militants, were killed in what was an attack there.

Now this comes just days after the arrest in the UK of the head of the Pakistan's MQM party Altaf Hussain, whose area is the Karachi area.

The MQM is the fourth largest party in Pakistan's parliament. Hussain's arrest has caused renewed uncertainty causing some businesses in

Karachi to shut down.

Let's discuss this further with CNN's Leone Lakhani who joins me now. Leone, you know this country well, you know this city well. There has been

an awful lot of unrest there recently. Break it down for me. Why?

LEONE LAKHANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Becks, as you said, it's the largest city in the country, financial hub. There's the banking

sector, the trading sector, the largest sea port is based in Karachi. It's got 20 million people plus.

But like many cities, there's also multi-ethnic, multi-racial, it's a melting pot. And some of the unrest we've seen is down to the complexities

of the demographics in the city, but a lot of it is also down to basic economics, because Becks if you look at the average cost of living of a man

-- like an average person in Karachi, it's so expensive it's hard to understand how people even survive there.

So I just want to break down some of the numbers.

So say you earn about $50, $60 a month, an average person in Karachi. A quarter of that could go just to buying wheat, which is a staple food.

Now that's just wheat, nothing else.

And electricity cost, which is the biggest cost in Pakistan at the moment, could take up your entire salary.

So if you're struggling to live day to day, you get to see why people would get a little bit disenfranchised with the authorities that have

promised to tackle these kinds of issues and they haven't. So it creates kind of a breeding ground and makes people susceptible to groups that might

tend to their needs, groups like the Taliban, for instance.

ANDERSON: Right.

And the Taliban militant group the TTP has claimed responsibility, Leone, for this attack.

I want for the benefit of our viewers just to give you a bit of background to this. It was formed in 2007 and based in the country's

tribal areas -- this is for the benefit of viewers -- of course Leone already knows it -- they control much of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The group has strong links to the Taliban in Afghanistan and indeed in al Qaeda.

Their goal is to overthrow Pakistan's government and create an Islamic state under Shariah law.

Earlier this year, Pakistan's government began negotiations with the group, which led to a cease-fire in March. But talks broke down a month

later.

Leone, this is a group that many of our viewers will say, well hang on a minute, they are from the north of the country. That's where we know

they are at their most active. What are they doing down in Karachi? And how long have they been part and parcel of what's going on down there?

LAKHANI: What a lot of people don't realize, Becky is they've actually become quite entrenched with many of these cities. They've come

down to cities like Karachi all the way down south and very much part of society. They don't look any different from anyone else -- many of the

other people. So people don't even realize.

But there have been quite a few attacks in recent year. In 2012, there was a suicide attack in Peshawar, which is one of the main cities in

the north. There was an attack on a naval base in Karachi right next to the airport -- from yesterday's airport. There was even an attack on a

military base in Rawalpindi, which is an actual military city in Pakistan next to the capital.

So there have been a number of attacks in recent years. And what it reflects is when you have attacks like this, it shows the inability of the

authorities to protect sensitive targets that should be well guarded, first of all, but also reflects the sense of lawlessness of the country in

itself. You can't even protect these basic targets. The rest of the country is pretty much, you know, in a state of flux, then.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Leone, thank you.

Leone Lakhani on the story for you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

Coming up, the World Cup is just three days away, but these Brazilians, well they're not celebrating. Anger on the streets of Sao

Paulo in some districts up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All right, here we go. Kickoff just around the corner in Brazil, but not everybody is raring to go. The strike by subway workers

has paralyzed Sao Paulo. Police fired tear gas in an effort to disperse protests in support of the protests there. They also used a stun grenade

to break up a separate demonstration by the striking workers themselves.

Well, CNN's Shasta Darlington is in Sao Paulo. She joins us now live.

It does for some many people around the world who are looking forward to the World Cup seem so disappointing, but for those who live in Sao

Paulo, they have a message and it's a message they've taken to the streets about Shasta.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. It's just absolute chaos here. You know, up to four million people

a day use the subway, the metro, to get to work or take their kids to school and so they're out on the streets trying to figure out how to get

around. Traffic is stopped.

But basically the subway workers have a lot of leverage. And that's because this is just a couple of days before the World Cup that will be

held here in Sao Paulo and one of the main ways to get to that opening game is on the metro. So they've really -- they've really got the government by

the throat, if you will.

They say they want higher wages. So far the government has only given an incremental increase. They say the deserve more. And nobody is backing

down, which is why you see these picketing workers going into the metro trying to keep the stations closed.

Even though a judge decided that they should be opened back up and that the union would face fines, they're out there trying to keep people

from using the metro -- and this is where we get all of these violent clashes. And again what you could see on gameday -- so far there's no plan

B is 61,000 fans struggling to get to the Sao Paulo arena, which is on the outskirts of town on the eastern side. Truly the easiest ways to get there

are by metro and by an over land train. And at this point, one of those options is knocked out, Becky. It's really not clear how this will all

end.

ANDERSON: Right.

And you talked about the leverage that clearly these striking workers have got at this point, I believe looking at something like a 12 percent

pay increase at the very least.

What are you hearing from those strikers about just how long they're prepared to go on, because many of them, many of them will be massive

football fans themselves. They're prepared, are they, to keep this going, to effectively work this through the beginning of what is this incredibly

big event for Brazil?

DARLINGTON: You are right. They are big football fans. But at the same time, so many people in Brazil recognize that this is the opportunity

to really pressure for what they want.

A lot of people are legitimately and truly anger at the way the government has spent billions of dollars on stadiums in a country that they

think should not have been focused on that kind of global event, that should have been focused on improving schools and hospitals and urban

transportation.

Others really see it as a platform to pressure the government. If they don't get this increase now, they're certainly not going to get it

after it afterwards. This is when the world is watching. And while 12 percent may sound like a big increase, you have to remember inflation here

is about 6.5 percent. So they -- their -- I don't think they really have the support of the population, because we want to get around. People are

being impeded from getting where they want to go. But I don't think they're going to give up just so they can watch a football game, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, no. All right, I get your point.

Listen, there will be lots of people watching this who will be watching the big event going forward. There will be those who are

traveling there and will be wondering how they are going to get around.

We've been hearing from fans all over the world, those who may be traveling to Brazil and those who won't.

Today, we're in Japan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I have hopes that Japan will be able to get to the best of eight. Once they hit their stride, I think

they can beat the big ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Japan have a chance to get to the last 32 to qualify out of the group. I think they've got some great players --

Honda, Kagawa, some very good players.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The skills of the individual players have been drastically improving. There's a huge sense

of teamwork, so I think they will do very well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): You guys can to it. I believe in you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think that Brazil is going to win. I think it's because they are playing in their home country.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: I guess Argentina is going to win, yeah.

Well, they've got a good football team and it's time to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Japan, of course will win. People are saying how it may be difficult for them to make it past the

preliminary rounds, but I think they will win the World Cup.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, some people might call that last chap optimistic, but good for him.

Let's bring it on three days to go.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAMON: And you can see just how desolate, unforgiving and remote the terrain out here is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Could this be the place where Boko Haram is hiding more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls? CNN takes you beyond Nigeria's borders in

the hopes of getting some answers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: At half past 7:00 in the UAE, at least, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories for you this hour.

Pakistan's busiest airport has reopened after a deadly attack. Karachi International Airport was closed on Sunday following an attack that

led to the deaths of 28 people, including all 10 attackers. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility.

The Syrian news agency, SANA, reports that President Bashar al-Assad has granted amnesty for crimes committed before today. The deal commutes

death sentences to life with hard labor and reduces life in prison to 20 years. Foreigners involved in terrorist activities are to receive amnesty

if they turn themselves in.

Two men have been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Russian journalist. Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed at her Moscow apartment

building in 2006. The 48-year-old had been reporting on corruption and rights abuses there. Three other men also received prison time.

We're learning that US and Iran have begun high-level nuclear talks in Geneva. Today's meeting is part of the ongoing nuclear negotiations

between Iranian diplomats and the five permanent members of the security council and Germany. Negotiators hope to get a longterm deal off the

ground before an interim agreement expires this year.

The nuclear negotiations continue in Switzerland. Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani is in Turkey to try to repair relations with

Ankara. Let's do a little bit more on this. Let's find out what's behind latest diplomatic maneuvers, as it were.

Joining me from Washington is Reza Marashi, who is director of research at the National Iranian American Council. And this is somewhat of

a -- perhaps that's an understatement -- a diplomatic blitz at present, correct?

REZA MARASHI, NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL: I think it's fair to say that that's the case. His predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the

administration surrounding him took the opposite approach where they viewed diplomacy as weakness and they didn't engage substantially with the world.

So now, Rouhani and his team are doing exactly what they did 10 to 15 years ago when they were in power before and trying to reinvigorate Iranian

diplomacy to solve Iran's problems. And so far, so good.

ANDERSON: So, just how significant are these two things? This Bill Burns, who we believe was in the background organizing this interim

agreement between the US, or P5 plus one and Iran. We've got him talking to an Iranian delegation in Geneva, we've got Rouhani in Ankara at this

point. Just how significant a period is this?

MARASHI: I think it's safe to say that it's extremely significant, if not historic. Right now, you have the US and Iran bringing out their A

team, bring out the big guns, if you will, to try and bridge gaps in their diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program, sanctions, other forms of isolation.

Then you also have President Rouhani going to Turkey trying to mend ties, if not improve them. The Syria crisis certainly caused a poisoning

of the relations between Iran and Turkey.

So again, taking steps to figure out what kinds of compromises and middle grounds can be reached I think is going to be vital to find peaceful

solutions to conflict, not just in the region, but the world.

ANDERSON: Let's add another leg to this, of course. An Iranian delegation in Rome this week talking to a Russian delegation. This has

multi legs, as it were, is multilayered, as our viewers will clearly understand.

Let me take us outside of Rome, of Geneva and, indeed, of Ankara today. What's the pushback, if any, in Congress at present? We clearly

know there is some. And also inside Tehran. What's happening on the naysayers' side on both sides of this US or Washington-Tehran story?

MARASHI: Becky, that's a great question. I think right now in Tehran, you're seeing the supreme leader of Iran say that it's time for

everybody to fall in line, and he's been protecting Rouhani's negotiating team. So the political will so far we've seen is there in Iran.

In the United States, I think, President Obama's administration has taken very similar risks for peace that's necessary to bridge the gap,

though Congress and hardliners in Congress still do have a role to play. Their role can be positive in helping President Obama deliver on America's

end of any bargain, when a final deal might reach, because Congress will be needed to lift sanctions.

Or Congress can play a spoiler role and reduce American credibility by not allowing the president to deliver on his end of the bargain.

ANDERSON: Sure.

MARASHI: So right now, I think more than ever, we need the American Congress to work with the president to help achieve American interests.

ANDERSON: Meantime, just how far can Rouhani go? What sort of negotiations dance does he have? How wide is it at this point? You're

saying that Tehran is effectively behind what happens here, but there's only so much rope, isn't there, at this point?

MARASHI: I think not only myself, but many other Iran observers, have been surprised by the long leash that President Rouhani has been given to

negotiate over Iran's nuclear program.

Now, we should be clear that they are negotiating over the nuclear program. There are another set of outstanding issues, whether it's

terrorism, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, no shortage of issues that aren't being discussed but, frankly, should be.

And if these nuclear negotiations can prove successful, that opens up the possibility to discuss these other issues. But I think it's safe to

say that nobody in the Iranian government is trying to become America's best friend.

What they're trying to do is deescalate tensions and go from enemies to, perhaps, rivals. A relationship that's more manageable, something like

Russia, for example. And I think given the status quo that's extremely toxic, that would be an improvement that both sides should welcome.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Reza, always a pleasure. Thank you

MARASHI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: More than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls are still missing some two months after they were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Now, the area around

Lake Chad is suspected to be a hideout for that militant group. It is located on Nigeria's northeastern tip, as you can see here, and borders

three other countries.

Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon took a trip to what is an incredibly remote and isolated region and has the first of a series

of three exclusive reports for you this evening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're close to Niger's porous border with Boko Haram's stronghold in

Nigeria. Followed by an armed escort, we're heading towards Lake Chad along tracks barely visible in the sand.

DAMON (on camera): Our driver was just telling us that those trucks were carrying fish caught from Lake Chad that's been dried. We're in

Niger. You can see just how desolate, unforgiving, and remote the terrain out here is.

DAMON (voice-over): US sources say the lake is an area of interest in the search for the missing Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist

group in mid-April. We arrive at the port town of Kiari Kagar, for months dealing with an influx of refugees.

In March, along the lake to the south of here, Nigerian forces raided a Boko Haram camp, capturing weapons, ammunition, and explosives. But

these are largely lawless waters.

DAMON (on camera): We're just heading off towards the islands located in Lake Chad to see some of the Nigerian refugees that have fled there.

DAMON (voice-over): The lake is massive, spanning some 520 square miles. More than half of it populated by islands covered in dense

vegetation, ideal hideouts. We're as far as we're told we can safely go on one of the islands closest to Niger.

DAMON (on camera): It's not just the dense vegetation that makes it so challenging when it comes to searching for Boko Haram's camps or even

the missing schoolgirls. It's that islands like this one, for example, are populated by small clusters of homes. Boko Haram, the schoolgirls, could

easily be amongst the local population.

DAMON (voice-over): Before fleeing here, fisherman Voula Manoma (ph) lived on one of the islands close to Nigeria. He described how Boko Haram

raised his village, stealing produce, torching homes. So many villagers killed, he says, he lost count.

Here, village and terrorist camps are difficult to distinguish from aerial surveillance, especially if, as is widely believed, the girls have

been split into smaller groups.

And Lake Chad isn't the only area of interest. A difficult search would give way to an even more challenging rescue. The terrain here is as

harsh as Boko Haram's tactics are unforgiving.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon just got back from Lake Chad. She joins me from the London bureau. Arwa, if the girls are found, what are the options

there?

DAMON: The problem, Becky, is that there aren't any good options. The Nigerian government has already taken any sort of military operation

off the table, and that's fairly understandable because of the potential security concern it would cause for the girls.

Two informants, Boko Haram informants that we met when we were in Nigeria told us that they had no doubt in their minds that these girls

would be used as human shields.

Any sort of political negotiation, while publicly, at least, the Nigerians are saying that there won't be any sort of prisoner exchange or a

swap, but at the end of the day, if the girls are going to be brought home safely, there's going to be -- have to be some sort of channel of

communication that is opened with Boko Haram.

ANDERSON: Lest we forget, these some 250-odd, 270-odd girls are not the first to have been abducted by this militant group, of course. Boko

Haram does seem to be growing in strength. That's, at least, the perception. What was your understanding on the ground?

DAMON: That really is the sense that one gets. It seems as if the organization has been emboldened by the fact that it got away with this

massive abduction, that no one has been able to track them down.

That it has thrown them into such an international spotlight and seems to be carrying out even more frequent and brazen attacks, just a few days

ago, attacking four villages close to the border with Cameroon, killing scores.

Now, some people who we spoke to who know how the group operates and who have been subjected to their attacks are saying that they're also

carrying out these types of attacks with more frequency because they have all of these extra mouths to feed with the kidnapping not only of these

200-plus schoolgirls, but also all of the other kidnappings that have happened it the past as well.

And so, they'll go through, they'll raid these villages of any sort of produce that is there, torch them, kill people, perpetuate this culture of

fear. And so far, they've been able to act, Becky, with complete impunity.

ANDERSON: There is much discussion about who they are funded by and where they get their weapons. Again, you've been on the ground. Any

further sense or clarification of that at this stage? Somebody's got to be funding these guys, particularly if they're getting stronger at this point.

DAMON: Well, what's quite interesting is a lot of people will tell you that it doesn't actually cost that much for an operation like Boko

Haram to continue to carry out its terrorist attacks in northeastern Nigeria. A lot of their funding is coming from the kidnappings,

kidnappings for ransom.

We were speaking to some people who absolutely refused to go on camera about this who said that there are quite exorbitant amounts of money that

are being paid whenever they manage to kidnap fairly prominent businessmen.

There have been unconfirmed, very loose ties to organizations like al Qaeda. We have been told by various sources that some of the Boko Haram's

top leadership did train in al Qaeda camps in Sudan and in Somalia, but it does seem as if a lot of it is coming from Nigeria itself when it comes to

these kidnappings that they're carrying out, the looting, and various other sorts of criminal activities.

And of course, their networks, their tentacles are continuing to extend and grow even further into Nigeria's various neighboring countries

as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon on the trail for you. And you can watch more of Arwa's exclusive reporting from Niger on the hunt for Boko Haram. In her

next piece, she talks to two girls who are now facing life as orphans. That is here on CNN.

Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up next, 100 days and counting before voters decide

whether to change the course of British history.

And robbed of her childhood, one victim of human trafficking shows us the world through her eyes. All that and more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The question is straightforward, but the implications are far-reaching. In 100 days, Scotland will decide whether or not it should

be independent. Scottish nationalists say they are tired of following London's lead, while pro-unionists say a yes vote could have grave

consequences.

For now, the campaigns go on, but as CNN's Max Foster shows us, the messages, well, they're not always clear. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MEL GIBSON AS WILLIAM WALLACE, "BRAVEHEART": That they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!

(CROWD CHEERS)

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seven centuries have passed since Scottish forces defeated England's army after a

series of bloody battles, including the one at Bannockburn, depicted here in Mel Gibson's "Braveheart."

In Bannockburn today, some are fighting to get that independence back. Scotland ceded power to London when it joined the United Kingdom in 1707.

But 15 years ago, some of that power was clawed back with the creation of a new Scottish parliament in Edinburgh. Now, many Scots want to go all

the way with full independence in a movement spearheaded by Alex Salmond's Scottish National Party.

ALEX SALMOND, FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND: So, this is the time. Our time. Scotland's time.

FOSTER: On September the 18th, people in Scotland over the age of 16 will have their say once and for all in a referendum that will ask simply,

should Scotland be an independent country? It's a debate at the heart what it means to be Scottish. But it's also about money. Bob Conway is a

locksmith in Sterling, just a stone's throw from Bannockburn.

BOB CONWAY, LOCKSMITH: I think we can succeed. We've got our very own oil industry, which as we've been told for years, it's going to run

out, that maybe within 10 years it's meant to run out, 20 years, and it's still going strong.

We've also got a big -- our own Silicon Valley in the highlands. We supply maybe 30, 40 percent of European circuit boards. We've got a

fantastic whiskey industry.

And I'm not saying that Scotland would get it right all the time, but we'd be allowed to make our own decisions. And I feel if you can make your

own decisions, you have to learn from your own mistakes. And we're not getting that chance just now

FOSTER: Chloe Campbell also works nearby and will soon be studying for a degree in politics.

CHLOE CAMPBELL, SHOP ASSISTANT: I am against independence because I feel that there are so many answers that we don't have, there is so much

information that we're not provided by -- for by Alex Salmond. And it's very difficult to make a decision based on your future and your country

when you don't have the answers.

FOSTER: If the yes campaign for independence wins out, then there'd be months, if not years, of negotiation over big issues like dividing up

the UK's oil wealth and national debt, whether it remains part of the European Union, and whether it keeps the British or pound or backs its own

currency and central bank.

Even if they wanted to, are Scotland's leaders able to steer the country through these epic challenges? You can always rely on a taxi

driver to speak their mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scotland could stand on its own two feet, no problem whatsoever. I'm just not happy with the people that want to run

the country.

FOSTER: The polls have so far favored a no to independence, but the balance of power is with a large swathe of the population who are still

undecided.

Max Foster, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, this is clearly an emotive issue for many Scots, but I think it is fair to say that when you drill down, much of this is about

the oil money. CNN's emerging markets editor John Defterios following the story for us. He joins us now.

This vote, John, clearly has implications not just for Scotland and the UK, but for Europe and beyond. So let's start with the oil mast, as it

were. How does it stack up?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it's very interesting, because we're getting the cases for and against. And let's

stripped out the emotion. Max kind of covered the emotion and the local opinions there from the Scottish people.

If you take that and set it aside, here's a presentation from the UK government suggesting to the Scottish people you're much better off if you

stay in. We've got a graphic here suggesting the overall benefit for the Scottish people, now, by staying in is about $3,000 a year, $3,006.

That total Scottish loss would be the oil revenues that they get back going into Scotland from the overall oil wealth of $654. They say if you

strip that out, the net gains to each Scottish citizen now is $2300-plus.

ANDERSON: According to the British government, of course --

DEFTERIOS: But -- yes.

ANDERSON: -- which is clearly on the side of no.

(LAUGHTER)

DEFTERIOS: Yes. So, that's the opposition, though, for the no. But the Scottish SNP party is saying you've got to give us some line of sight

for 15 years. Now, this is interesting, because they're saying project to 2029 or 2030.

We think with a smaller state, we'll become more productive, and your net gain after 15 years -- and this is a big leap to ask for the Scottish

people, and I've taken the emotion, I'm just looking at the hard numbers here, a net gain of $1500.

And we could have our independence, we can run a much more efficient state. And perhaps we can go and find more oil going forward if we have

control of own destiny.

ANDERSON: Well, let's talk about just how much oil Scotland has, because I've actually been quite surprised by the numbers. Go back a dozen

years or so, and it seems to me that if this vote had been conducted then, it would have been an overwhelming yes. Because the numbers are pretty

significant, aren't they? Certainly high, anyway.

DEFTERIOS: Yes. Well, this is very interesting because timing is everything when deciding to put this on the table. If you go back to 2002,

we talked about the dwindling oil production in the North Sea. Back in 2002, the UK and the UAE, where we're standing, were head-to-head producing

about 2.5 million barrels a day.

ANDERSON: Yes.

DEFTERIOS: Yes. And the UAE today has moved up because of the proven reserves to over 3 million barrels a day. They're trying to get to 3.5.

In that timeframe, they've gone from 2.5 million in the UK overall, the entire North Sea, down to less than a million in 2012. Very

alarmingly, in the last year, the production has dropped 13 percent. You only have 3 billion barrels of proven reserves, 0.2 percent of the global

total.

So, we heard in Max's story there, the Scottish person suggesting, we've talked about the dwindling supplies, but we know we're holding our

own. But the reality is, the supplies right now, at least, are dropping.

ANDERSON: We're going to do more on this story, and in future, we will discuss the impact on Europe and beyond and blah blah. But for the

time, very well done, because it's an interesting when.

Well, so what? Why do we care around the world, is one which isn't clear right at the outset, but you've made a good stab at convincing me.

(LAUGHTER)

DEFTERIOS: You think --

ANDERSON: My dad's Scottish, by the way. I should be convinced.

DEFTERIOS: I've got to be careful, then. Do they become an emerging market or not is the big question, right?

ANDERSON: That's one for another day.

DEFTERIOS: OK.

ANDERSON: Thanks, John. Coming up after this short break: you've been at the Global Exchange, of course. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me,

Becky Anderson. Tackling trafficking: we visit a shelter for victims in Abu Dhabi and see how they are fighting for a new life. That is up next

here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: In tonight's Parting Shots, a picture paints a thousand words, and none more poignant than those that show one's deepest fears.

Human trafficking victims at EWAA Shelter here in the United Arab Emirates are encouraged to express their emotions through art.

I spoke to one young woman who was trafficked from Iraq. She described the artwork, some of which is her own. And through her words, we

get a sense of what many of these victims have been through. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Standing strong. You cannot keep me down. Lost innocence. I regret that I was denied the

privilege of a normal, happy childhood.

Too naive. I still cannot believe how badly I was deceived by those I've trusted. Sailing to the future. I look forward to a new life and new

beginnings.

Changing course. We may have lost our way, but our dreams are still there. Flying free. Freedom is a gift and should never be taken for

granted.

Memories. I wish I could know to whom I belong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching.

END