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CONNECT THE WORLD

More Surfaces On Andreas Lubitz Before Crash; British Parliamentary Elections Poised To Be Hotly Contested; Two Detained ISIS Operatives Speak Out; Saudi Arabia Begins Air Campaign Against Yemeni Houthi Rebels; Morocco's Heavy Hand Against ISIS. Aired 11:00-12:00p ET

Aired March 30, 2015 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:29] ROBYN CURNOW, HOST: This is CNN. And just to update you on a breaking news coverage that we've been covering here at CNN, there's

been an incident outside the NSA, the U.S. spy agency, two men allegedly tried to ram into the main gate to try and enter the NSA. Police shot both

of these men. One is dead, one is injured. And we're going to take you now to our colleagues at CNN USA for more information on this developing

story. Let's listen in.

(SIMULCAST WITH CNN USA)

CURNOW: Our colleagues at CNN USA. I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching Connect the World. I'm standing in for my colleague Becky

Anderson.

Let's move to the main story we're covering here on Connect the World today: Yemen. And impoverished Gulf country that is now in its fifth day

of being pummeled by air strikes from its neighbor Saudi Arabia and several other Arab states.

Well, CNN has learned that at least 40 people were killed and 250 wounded in a Saudi strike in the northwest of the country, an area near two

refugee camps was hit.

Well, the Yemeni defense ministry says the victims were internally displaced people.

Earlier, Houthi rebels told CNN that after nights of intensive bombing, the Saudi-led coalition is now carrying out daylight raids. The

strikes are targeting rebels and their allies.

Among the coalition put together by Saudi, Egypt is emerging as one of the most enthusiastic members.

Well, CNN's Ian Lee is standing by in Cairo with the latest. Hi there, Ian. What can you tell us?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi there, Robyn. Egypt, along with eight other countries, Arab countries, all signed up for this Arab

coalition committing their naval, their air and their land forces to go inside Yemen if the call arises, if they get permission, and that comes

from Yemen's President Hadi. He will make the final call if this ground operation goes forward. That's what we're hearing from this communique.

But not all the Arab countries were on board with this. And we're seeing a dangerous split here. Iraq and Lebanon, two predominately Shiite

countries that have heavy Iranian influence, voted against this operation to go inside Yemen. And we're seeing this really along Sunni, Shiite

lines, this Arab coalition right now going against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who are also Shiite. The coalition going against them are

predominately Sunni.

Now, we're hearing from the Yemeni foreign minister that that operation could take place -- ground operation -- could take place within

days. And at that point, we could see these nine coalition members, which include the Gulf cooperation council as well as Jordan, Sudan and Egypt --

Robyn.

[11:05:41] CURNOW: So, is there a likelihood, is it definitely going to be boots on the ground, or is it still something that is being

discussed?

I mean, the potential and the fallout for having this war in the Middle East spilling over like this I mean is huge.

LEE: Definitely is. And this is unprecedented. We've never seen this sort of Arab coalition before, but the diplomatic window isn't closed

yet. There are still talks and consultation. The international community, especially the United Nations urging all the political parties to come

together to form a diplomatic solution, because once there's boots on the ground it will be very hard to reverse that, especially with Saudi Arabia

saying that they want to destroy or degrade the Houthi rebel's capability.

So, once those boots on the ground it will be very difficult to bring them back.

And also it's a very dangerous situation as that northern part of Yemen is rugged terrain, these -- the Houthis are very adapt at guerrilla

warfare. It will not be an easy operation -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Indeed. If this does follow through with boots on the ground, a very bloody and lengthy war possibly.

Well, we'll come back to you if you have any more details on that. Ian Lee in Cairo, thanks very much -- so much.

And of course we'll have more on Yemen later on in the show.

When we hear how instability is affecting oil prices, well, we'll also be looking at how a potential nuclear deal with Iran ties into global fears

of a glut. Emerging markets editor John Defterios will be here to explain it and discuss it all in about 10 minutes time.

Well, it's down to the wire in Lausanne as Iran and world powers are trying to reach a deal on Tehran's nuclear program. They're working

against the clock as a self imposed deadline is now jut one day way.

But there are several sticking points that remain unresolved. Our Elise Labott is there in Lausanne, Switzerland. Hi there.

You were saying to me earlier that there are three key points that are still problematic.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Robyn.

Well, first of all we're talking about a 10 to 15 year deal. So, everything is OK for the first 10 years, but the question that's on the

table now is what happens between years 11 to 15. Iran just wants to go back to normal, resume its -- any nuclear activity that it wants, including

research and development. But the international community wants to maintain restriction on that nuclear activity. That's really one of the

main stumbling blocks.

We're also talking about UN security council sanctions, the pace of when they would be lifted. Iran wants them lifted on day one, but the

international community says they need to be phased out as Iran shows compliance with a deal.

And then what happens if Iran were to violate the deal? The international community is looking for some kind of, what they call a snap

back mechanism that those sanctions could be reimposed if Iran chooses to violate the deal.

Now as you said, we're coming down to the wire. Everyone's bargaining positions are really hard. And at this point, British foreign minister

said when he arrived last night, if Iran wants a deal in the coming days, they needed to take a deep breath and make some hard choices. And today,

western diplomats said at some point, you have to say yes or no. It's yes or no time, Robyn, for the Iranians.

CURNOW: Elise Labott there in Lausanne. Thanks so much for that update.

Well, we're learning new details about the mental health of the co- pilot who officials say deliberately crashed Germanwings flight 9525.

A German prosecutor says years ago, before he was a commercial pilot, Andreas Lubitz underwent psychotherapy for suicidal tendencies. But so far

there's no indication he was suicidal recently.

Well, that was revealed as video emerged of Lubitz training to fly as a teenager. Here you see him in a glider near his family home back in

2007.

Well, we'll hear more from Fred Pleitgen who has been following these developments from Colon in Germany a little bit later on in the show.

Unclear where I'm supposed to go. There we go. Thank you. My colleagues are bringing up the autocue, that's always a good thing.

Still to come this hour, a new wave of coalition airstrikes has helped Iraqi forces advance against ISIS in the battle for Tikrit, but now they

say they're faced with another set of problems.

But, first, we look at how conflict on the borders of the world's biggest crude oil exporter is affecting energy markets. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:12:30] CURNOW: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.

Well, let's go back to the investigation into that Germanwings crash. Our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is with us now. He's

following developments from Colon.

Hi there. I think the key point out of today has been that this man had had suicidal tendencies at one point.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's certainly -- that certainly is one of the key points that came from that

press conference that was given by the prosecutor's office there in Dusseldorf that he had suicidal tendencies and was clearly suffering from a

mental illness in the time before trying to become a pilot, in the time before receiving his pilot license.

It's interesting, though, the prosecutor also said that at the time before this crash happened, that he was also receiving treatment for mental

issues, however that -- in none of those did it appear as though he was aggressive towards other people, or that he might have had suicidal

tendencies.

Meanwhile, Robyn, there's also new details emerging about the time immediately leading up to this crash. And there's a chilling account that

was put out by Germany's Bild newspaper that claims to have obtained part of the cockpit voice recording, though it's impossible for us to

independently verify what they've actually written. But it is a chilling account of how that flight went down. Let's have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Over the weekend, disturbing new details from Flight 9525's mangled cockpit voice recorder, published by German newspaper

Bild.

BILL WALDOCK, PROFESSOR, EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY: The CVR transcript was leaked way too early in the investigation.

PLEITGEN: The leaked transcript, criticized as mere voyeurism by French investigators, captures the steps 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz took to

kill all 150 on board.

Around 10 a.m., the plane takes off from Barcelona. The captain then tells Lubitz he didn't go to the bathroom in Barcelona, and Lubitz replies,

"Go any time."

Around 10:27, the plane reaches 38,000 feet, cruising altitude. The captain asks Lubitz to prepare for the landing, and after the check, Lubitz

repeats, "You can go now."

Then the captain is heard getting up and saying, "You can take over."

Lubitz, now alone with the door locked, reprograms the autopilot from 38,000 feet to 100 feet, sending the jetliner straight towards the Alps,

dropping around 3,000 feet a minute.

Air traffic control tries to contact the plane but receives no answer.

An alarm goes off inside the cockpit warning, "Sink rate." Then a loud bang on the door, the captain screaming, "For God's sake, open the door."

Passengers are also heard screaming.

Five minutes before impact, more bangs can be heard, metallic noises as if someone was trying to knock the door down.

Ninety seconds later, another alarm goes off, warning, "Terrain, pull up." The captain again screams, "Open the damn door."

Two minutes before impact, the paper reports Lubitz can be heard breathing, the plane now only 13,000 feet from the ground.

10:40 a.m., investigators believe they hear the plane's right wing scrape a mountaintop then screams once more from the 149 on board. Lubitz

apparently stays silent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[11:15:59] PLEITGEN: And Robyn, one of the things that's very chilling about these details is that apparently, or it seems as though

Lubitz was setting his captain up from the very beginning of that flight to leave the cockpit, trying to get him to leave the cockpit.

Now the French authority investigating all of this, the BAE, has said it is dismayed that any sort of details from the investigation may have

been leaked. Again, we can't confirm the authenticity, but certainly the BAE did not deny that what was in that newspaper article is, in fact,

factual, Robyn.

CURNOW: Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much for that update.

Now, emotional arrivals at Karachi airport in Pakistan. These are some of the latest foreigners to be evacuated from Yemen as Saudi-led

airstrikes on rebel targets continue.

Pakistan says it still has not yet decided whether it'll join Riyadh's coalition of 10 states, mainly Middle Eastern, but also including Sudan and

Morocco.

And the start of Saudi-led strikes on Yemen briefly pushed up oil prices last week. But they're not falling again as investors look ahead to

a potential nuclear deal between Iran and western powers being thrashed out now in Switzerland as we speak.

If sanctions on Iran are lifted, it could lead to a global oversupply of oil as John Defterios now reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yemen, although it's just a tiny oil producer, has quickly reintroduced risk to global energy markets.

The country, located on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, is the fourth biggest shipping chock point in the world by volume.

The bigger worry, of course, Yemen sits on the southern border of Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer. Strategists say an unsettled Yemen

could also increase piracy from the Red Sea down to the Gulf of Aden and other regional shipping lanes.

MANOUCHEHR TAKIN, OIL STRATEGIST: The perception that there is conflict, there's war, airstrikes and missiles and so on, rocket attacks in

Saudi Arabia, and that of course affects the price of oil psychologically.

DEFTERIOS: With U.S. reserves at a record 450 million barrels, the global oil market remains awash with crude. And that's been the focus.

Investors have been discounting risk for the last six months, but there's plenty to worry about in this volatile region. Libya remains an

energy wild card and sits on the largest proven reserves in Africa. And ISIS is a threat to Iraq and its plans to expand production and eventually

challenge Saudi Arabia.

CORNELIA MEYER, CHAIRMAN, MRL CORPORATION: The major, major region for production for oil is very unstable. And we do need Saudi Arabia to be

stable and you saw that with the reaction from President Obama who is supporting the action of the GCC alliance against what's happening in

Yemen.

DEFTERIOS: There is also the impact Yemen may have within OPEC, which is dominated by Middle East producers. Back in November, the 12 nation

group proceeded with the Saudi-led plan not to cut production. Iran was against that move.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Well, CNN's emerging markets editor John Defterios joins me now live from Abu Dhabi. Hi there, John.

Now I just want to get you to clarify something for us. You finished your report there on Iran resisting Saudi Arabia's move in OPEC. What will

be the impact if sanctions are lifted against Iran?

DEFTERIOS: It would be a big gamechanger. In fact, it's something we haven't seen for some 20 years in terms of the investment money going in to

the Iranian energy sector.

But there's both a business and political impact that we're talking about here, Robyn. Bijan Zangeneh, who is the petroleum minister for Iran,

has told me if the sanctions are completely lifted -- and this is what they're debating right now in Lausanne -- within three to four months Iran

could add another million barrels a day to production taking them to 3.8 million barrels a day, and squarely number two behind Saudi Arabia.

You could see the political impact here. Saudi Arabia number one at 10 million barrels a day, Iran at 3.8 million trying to get to 5 million,

and Iraq on the rise. So you'd have Iran and Iraq in this alliance of Shias right now challenging Saudi Arabian predominance within the energy

sector.

And this is the big question mark going forward.

Right now, the market thinks there's plenty of oil around, not a lot of political risk, but this is something we're looking at four to five

years down the road, perhaps even sooner.

[11:20:20] CURNOW: And John, also, I mean, some really good points there. In terms of Yemen, the oil markets seemed quite sanguine about

what's happening in Yemen. Is that likely to last, particularly if there are boots on the ground in the next few days?

DEFTERIOS: Well, I touched upon this briefly in the report, but we've been living between a risk on, risk off environment. What I mean here, at

the end of last week with the bombs that we saw landing into Yemen here and the very strong show of force by Saudi Arabia, oil prices spiked back up.

We had the weekend to think about it. There is plenty of oil around. In fact, we have record amounts of oil in the United States right now. We

can't even find enough places to store it.

But we've never seen a period since 2003, in the Iraq war, where we've had so much risk on the horizon: Iraq with ISIS into play, Syria, Libya and

now Yemen. And I would imagine, if we do see ground troops -- and this is a conversation you had earlier in the program with Ian Lee -- if we have

ground troops in play, the risk off environment right now that the oil market is taking could quickly change and they start factoring now in just

Yemen, but the other three countries I was talking about.

We're pretty sanguine with where oil prices are right now below $60 a barrel for North Sea brent, that could change quite rapidly if troops are

moved into Yemen -- Robyn.

CURNOW: As always, John Defterios, expert analysis. Thanks so much.

Well, we have lots more on the Yemen conflict on our website, including a look at who is actually answered the Saudi call to step up

against anti-government forces in Yemen. Go to CNN.com for all the latest, plus our in depth analysis and background stories to break down this very

complex conflict.

Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. I'm Robyn Curnow. Coming up, Morocco says it is fighting ISIS efforts to infiltrate the

kingdom, but rights groups say a heavy handed approach is backfiring. We'll hear from a Moroccan counter terrorism chief in 20 minutes.

And a CNN exclusive from Iraq. Captured ISIS members describe their higher ups in the terror group, how they operated and some of the attacks

they orchestrated. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center.

Welcome back, I'm Robyn Curnow.

Well, Iraqi forces are continuing to battle ISIS in the strategic town of Tikrit, but that is proving difficult. Inside the town, there are

hundreds of ISIS militants fortified in buildings, underground tunnels and booby trapped roads. Local officials say the ground is littered with

bombs.

Coalition war planes began to hammer ISIS positions in Tikrit last week to help push forward the slow moving frontline.

Well, CNN had an opportunity, a rare opportunity to speak with two ISIS members who are now in an Iraqi jail. One was a driver for a top ISIS

leader, the other a bombmaker who says he sent more than a dozen suicide bombers on their missions. Here's senior international correspondent Arwa

Damon with this exclusive interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[11:25:02] ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just like ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Sameem Sulaiman's path to the terrorist

organization also stemmed from American detention years ago in Camp Bucca.

Now in an Iraqi jail, he agreed to be interviewed, but not once did he look up, unwilling to speak directly to a woman.

Sulaiman worked for this man, Abu Abdel Rahman al-Bilawi (ph), one of al-Baghdadi's top military chiefs and key operator in Mosul.

SAMEEM SULAIMAN, DETAINED ISIS MEMBER (through translator): He said, I need you to help me out. I just got out of prison awhile ago. And I am

with the Islamic State.

DAMON: Bilawi (ph) wanted a house, a bride and someone to cover for him if security forces searched. Sulaiman complied.

SULAIMAN (through translator): I would drive him around Mosul. He would always wear a suicide belt and carry a pistol. He wouldn't let me

see anyone who he was meeting.

DAMON: Sulaiman knew something imminent was in the works.

SULAIMAN (through translator): I didn't have specific details, but he told me if there's an operation don't leave.

DAMON: Just days before the ISIS offensive of Mosul, Bilawi (ph) was killed in a federal police operation at his home. Sulaiman was detained.

Police found the suicide belt Bilawi (ph) always wore. He was reaching for it when they gunned him down.

Federal police officers tell us had other Iraqi units taken their intelligence seriously ISIS may not have captured Iraq's second largest

city so easily.

Also in federal police custody Ammar Ali Khalil, an al Qaeda operative during the U.S. occupation, then joining ISIS.

AMMAR ALI KHALIL, DETAINED ISIS MEMBER (through translator): I was the main supplier for the Baghdad emirate for the explosive material and

suicide belts.

DAMON: Khalid says he personally prepared and dispatched 19 suicide bombers.

KHALIL (through translator): We had an Australian, a German and Arabs from other nations and Iraqis.

DAMON: Khalil was also establishing a bomb making factory in the heart of the capital.

The federal police have brought us here. This was a tire selling shop, or so it would seem to anyone who was passing by outside. But

authorities found an entire makeshift weapons bomb manufacturing and production facility.

These stills show some of what they found. In all, over a dozen suicide vests, and around 250 bombs.

It's a minuscule fraction of what ISIS has at its disposal, a small piece of a vast and complex network intelligence agencies are trying to

unravel and destroy.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: The latest world news headlines just ahead. Plus a nation terrorized by Boko Haram waits to see who its next president will be.

We're live in Nigeria where the first election results are due in the coming hours.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:30:45] CURNOW: This is Connect the World. The top stories this hour.

Police are investigating an incident at Fort Meade in the United States where the country's National Security Agency is located. A federal

law official said two men tried to ram the gate, an NSA officer shot one of the men dead and seriously wounded the other.

At least 40 people have been killed and 250 injured in an airstrikes near camps for displaced people in northern Yemen. The Yemeni defense

ministry says it was a Saudi strike. Yemen's foreign minister told the Reuters news agency that rebel artillery strikes were responsible.

And we're expecting the first results from Nigeria as presidential election in the coming hours. Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan is facing a

close contest against former military ruler Mohammadu Buhari. Top diplomats from the U.S. and Britain say they are disturbing indications the

ballots may be tampered with as they're collated.

And video has emerged of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz training to fly as a teenager. Lubitz is suspected of deliberately crashing flight

9525 into the French Alps last week. A German prosecutor says years ago Lubitz was treated for suicidal tendencies, but it showed no signs he was

suicidal recently.

Well, police say about 150 German investigators are at that crash site in the French Alps. Crews there are searching for more remains and the

still missing flight data recorder. Grieving relatives have also been visiting the site.

Well, our Erin McLaughlin is near the crash site with the latest. Hi there, Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn.

Well, incredibly emotional, incredibly somber scene here in Vernet, France. Just a short while ago, the families -- some of the families of

the victims were here to see a memorial site. And it's located just behind those two police vans back there, the police vans put in place to give the

family members as much privacy as possible.

Behind those police vans is a stone with an inscription in many different languages dedicated to the victims of flight 9525.

Now among the relatives that were here, the family is 68-year-old Carol Friday and her son 29-year-old Greg. They were on board that ill-

fated flight. They're from Melbourne, Australia. Carol's brother, Malcorum (ph) and his daughters were here. And it was incredibly emotional

for them.

The Australian press attache said that they laid flowers and read out poems from home. You could also see them hugging each other. They went

for a walk down the road that way. Incredibly somber, incredibly emotional.

Residents here say they want to help these families grieve. In fact, they've even opened up their homes saying that this is their home, too,

now. And one resident saying that he hopes the families will always visit here, that they will always be welcome. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASQUIN CRISTOFARI, LE VERNET RESIDENT (through translator): Yes, it's unimaginable. But above all, I'm thinking about the families. And

for the families, be they German or Spanish or whatever nationality, must not think that it's a hostile land here. They have to come back. We'll

welcome them. They have to know it's their land, too, now because there are bodies, or at least parts of bodies, which remain buried in the ground

and they'll stay forever so they need to come back. It'll be good for them and for us, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: So as you hear there, local residents saying their struggling to deal with this loss, to try and understand how something so

horrific could happen in a place so serene -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks, Erin McLaughlin for that. Appreciate it.

Well, we now turn to Morocco, a country that has seen terrorist attacks by militant groups in the past. And now there are concerns ISIS is

trying to get a foothold in the kingdom. ISIS has spread to North Africa and has carried out attack in Libya and most recently Tunisia. All this on

Europe's doorstep. Morocco's coast lies just under 14 kilometers from Spain at the narrowest point of crossing. Here's CNN's Jon Jensen with

this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[11:35:00] JON JENSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the front line in Morocco's battle against terror: a late night police raid on several

apartments, home to what officials call an ISIS sleeper cell, one that they say was possibly just days away from launching a wave of deadly attacks

with guns and dozens of rounds of ammunition across this north African kingdom.

13 Moroccan male suspects were arrested across the country last week.

MOHAMED MIFAOUI, DEP. DIR. MOROCCO'S CENTRAL BUREAU OF JUDICIAL INVESTIGATIONS: (inaudible) political and military figures (inaudible) and

Moroccan interests.

JENSEN: Last week's raid was the latest in a series of successful anti-terror operations officials have touted in recent months. But they

note they've seen at the same time an increase in weapons smuggling and ISIS recruitment, a worrying trend, one that could affect Europe too.

Much of it happens in and around the Spanish enclaves of Malia and Sutta (ph) in northern Morocco despite heavily guarded borders.

Earlier this month, police in Sutta (ph) arrested two suspected militants whose attacks, they said, was also imminent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are talking about people who aren't just indoctrinating others or radicalizing through social media,

they have been already radicalized and indoctrinated in such a perfect way that they are perfectly prepared to commit acts whenever they are ready.

JENSEN: The Moroccan arrests come just days after militants in nearby Tunisia killed 23 people at a museum popular with foreigners.

Moroccan cities have on occasion been the targets of terror. Casablanca was rocked by a string of coordinated bombings in 2003. And

four years ago, a suicide bomber struck Merrakesh.

And with more than 1,000 Moroccans now believed to be fighting in Iraq and Syria, and the growing possibility of spillover, officials are on high

alert.

MIFAOUI: I am very concerned. We are facing a new challenge, that's why we take a battery of measures.

JENSEN: Human rights groups have called some of those measures heavy handed, especially in terror cases, with accusations of arbitrary detention

and even torture.

But Morocco's newly formed counterterrorism unit denies those claims, saying human rights are a priority as they safeguard one of the few

remaining countries in North Africa so far spared of ISIS inspired terror.

Jon Jensen, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Well, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, he has been coming and going through this door for five years, but will David Cameron still be there after May 7? The UK's

election campaign kicked off in earnest today.

And who will be and who will win the presidency of Africa's largest country? Nigerians await the answer to that important question. We check

the mood there as the ballots are counted up next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:41:13] CURNOW: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.

Well, let's turn now to the tight race for the top office in Africa's most populous country. Voters in Nigeria cast their ballots for president

over the weekend. And we're expecting the first results soon.

Well, CNN's Christian Purefoy is keeping tabs on the vote count and the overall mood in the country where Boko Haram militants have

particularly been the focus of voters.

Tell us what the mood is like and the focus as they went to vote?

CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Robyn, well, right now we have had some results officially announced by the electoral commission. And

this is now the most exciting time, but also the most dangerous time for a Nigerian election.

On the one hand, you know, you have these results coming out and right now it really is neck and neck between these two candidates -- incumbent

President Goodluck Jonathan and retired general Mohammadu Buhari.

And the mood, you know, is extremely -- you know everyone is very excited. They do believe -- each side believes their candidate is going to

be the winner in this election. But that, Robyn, is what makes it also particularly dangerous at this moment, because on -- you know, the worry is

will whoever loses this election actually accept that result.

So, you know, in 2011 that was the problem, the opposition party lost and 800 people were killed after riots spread out across the north. But

right now, Robyn, we are waiting for those results. The electoral commission has gone on a break until 8:00 p.m. and say they will reconvene

at 8:00. And that's hopefully when we'll begin to find out you know really who has won this election -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Christian, I just want you to also to talk us through -- we've been hearing from the U.S. and the UK foreign secretaries essentially

saying that there are disturbing indications that there might be some sort of systematic manipulation in this counting process.

Has there been any reaction on the ground to those comments?

PUREFOY: Yeah, those really are quite remarkable comments by the UK and the U.S. embassies really saying that, you know, there has been a

disturbing political interference in the collation, not so much the votes, but when the vote gets into the centers to be counted, and before they're

announced, that is where, you know, they're worried that this political interference is going on.

It adds an extra dimension of tension to all of this. We don't know who is doing this interfering, but the worry is again that, you know,

whoever loses this election will simply turn around and say well this is not acceptable, because this has just been rigged -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Based on that, there was an experiment in terms of voting this time around. It was quite high tech. Do you think that has played

into an overall free and fair election? And of course that's why this concern about the counting process is doubly worrying?

PUREFOY: Yeah, what happened on Saturday during the election is the electoral commission put forward these electronic digital card readers,

that they hoped would try and get rid of, you know, the problems of fraud that Nigeria has seen in the past.

And sort of halfway through the day, the electoral commission then turn around and said there have been problems with these cards and that we

can then also therefore -- you know, the electoral officials on the ground can therefore do manual accreditation of voters, which sort of did this

double thing.

So it said, well, confusion over the card readers, but now you can now -- you know, all those problems that were supposedly put in the box about

rigging were now, you know, released into the open.

You know, but there were widespread problems with these. But the electoral officials and the observers say that this is not a big problem.

It has to be said, Robyn, that the election day actually went very smoothly, especially compared to past Nigerian elections. The thing to

remember here, Robyn, is Nigeria is sort of 16 years of democracy after decades of military rule. So this is a very fragile democracy. It's a

very fragile time for Nigeria. And it's an enormous test not just for the electoral commission, but for the Nigerians themselves. You know, when

these results are announced, what's going to happen?

And both President Goodluck Jonathan and his opponent Mohammadu Buhari have taken to social media to call for calm whatever happens -- Robyn.

[11:45:30] CURNOW: It's great having you on the show. Thanks so much. Christian Purefoy there coming to us from Lagos.

Well, our next guest says the implications of those elections are massive. Max Siollun is a Nigerian historian and writer. He joins us from

CNN Washington.

Hi there, Max.

There really is so much to talk about, this election, and specifically this issue of the political split between north and south, how that plays

into the delta and Boko Haram. And then that big question, I think the bigger one that Christian Purefoy was saying was that whoever wins, will

they just sit by -- whoever loses, will they allow that to happen?

MAX SIOLLUN, NIGERIAN HISTORIAN: That's a good question. This is very, very much a watershed election for Nigeria, because throughout

Nigeria's 54 years as an independent country, no ruling party, no incumbent government, has ever lost an election. And this is the first election in

Nigeria's history where there is a very, very real possibility of the incumbent government losing.

Now if that does happen, if the government does lose this election, it stands a risk of not just losing political power, but some ministers losing

their liberty as well. The reason for that is that the leading opposition candidate for the APC, the All Progressives Congress Major General Buhari

has a well established track record of investigating his predecessor governments.

He was formerly the head of state of Nigeria 30 years ago as a military ruler when Nigeria was under a military dictatorship and that time

around he investigated the government that preceded him and arrested, detained and jailed several ministers in that government for corruption.

So, many, many people in the current government will be very apprehensive of ceding power to a man with a track record of arresting and

jailing his predecessors.

CURNOW: Clearly -- and that there's a lot to lose, essentially.

The big question then is if General Buhari does become the next president, hypothetically the votes aren't all in, what does that mean,

particularly for the south and the delta region.

There is the possibility, then, of Nigeria having to deal with two insurgencies: Boko Haram and the delta militants.

I mean, how will a General Buhari presidency play out, do you think?

SIOLLUN: Absolutely.

If Buhari is elected, there will be -- there's likely to be a very drastic change in defense policy. Nigeria has been facing two insurgencies

over the last decade or so. One of them is the insurgency waged by Boko Haram in southeastern Nigeria, which has been in the media recently. But

then the elephant in the room is that there is a latent insurgency in the southern part of Nigeria where President Jonathan is from in the -- among

the Niger delta militants.

Now that insurgency is currently latent, because about five years ago the government reached a deal with the militants whereby the agreed to lay

down their arms in exchange for amnesty, cash and training.

Now the militants have vowed that if President Jonathan is not reelected, they will take up arms again and return to violence.

Now, General Buhari's (inaudible) what we know about him tells us that he's a very, very firm, resolute and determined man. He is not the type of

person to address insurgencies in a negotiating room. He has said that he will not negotiate with insurgents. And that means that he is likely to

try to force a result with insurgents on the battlefield.

So, big picture, there's the very real possibility that if Buhari is elected, he will not shirk, he will not be shy about confronting multiple

insurgencies in the north and in the south of Nigeria.

CURNOW: And of course, the big issue has been at the center of all of this, the issue of security. And it looks like that will still continue

after those votes come in and are counted.

Thank you so much. Max Siollun, a Nigerian, historian and writer. Appreciate your analysis.

Well, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, a reminder of Yemen's cultural legacy as conflict threatens to tear apart

much of the country's heritage.

And Prime Minster David Cameron visits Buckingham Palace. We'll tell you what this ceremonial trip means as the country prepares for a national

election in May.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:51:43] CURNOW: Let's show you some pictures from earlier today in London. This was British Prime Minister David Cameron leaving Downing

Street to meet with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The reason, it's tradition for the prime minister to ask the queen for permission to

dissolve parliament officially kicking off the election campaign.

There will now be 38 days of fervent campaigning ahead of the vote on May 7.

You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Robyn Curnow. Welcome back.

Well, this year's British election is expected to be too close to call. Usually it's a straight fight between Conservatives and the Labor

Party, but a rise in smaller parties has raised the possibility that no one will get a clear majority.

Well, let's go to the houses of parliament in London. CNN's Max Foster is there for us.

Hi, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it was interesting today. After David Cameron returned from Buckingham Palace, he made a

speech. He was talking about the economy, because that's his big trump card, really, going into this election. But he also made the point that

it's either going to be him or his opposition number in the Labor Party, Ed Milliband, who will be walking through the doors at number 10 ultimately at

the end of this election.

I makes it sound very simple. It's not, of course, because all the polls show that neither of those leaders will have an outright majority.

They'll have to find a smaller party to partner with. And that's what's making this election in the UK particularly complex for this country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Majestic, iconic, Westminster Palace looms large as a reminder of the political traditions that have evolved here over 900 years.

Within these walls, parliamentary debates are robust.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order, order, order. Passions are running high, but the answer from the prime minister must be heard.

FOSTER: But in the electorate, the argument by Britain's two major parties, the Conservatives and Labor, have increasingly fallen on deaf

ears.

A rising tide of voters choosing instead to follow smaller parties, such as the UK Independence Party, which its outspoken leader Nigel Farage

describes as the people's army. Their rallying cry: a British exit from the European Union in order to restrict immigration.

NIGEL FARAGE, INDEPENDENCE PARTY LEADER: I believe in Britain. I believe in you. I believe in (inaudible). I believe we're going to score

a famous victory on May 7. Thank you very much indeed.

FOSTER: Optimism is all very well, but the outcome of this election is anything but certain. Five (inaudible) parties, and despite growing

disillusionment with the Conservatives and Labor, they are the most likely to win the most seats. The question is whether or not either will have

enough to rule outright. If not, deals will need to be done. And that's where the smaller parties come in.

UKIP is performing strongly in the polls, but the more likely king makers are Nichola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party, which has had a

running start following its referendum on independence, and Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats, which has just spent five years in a coalition

government with the conservatives.

It's the relationship that has soured since 2010. And with a disillusioned parliament, so, too, the coalition.

As the election campaign gets underway, it'll be each party for its own. The economy looming as the largest factor. And whilst the result is

hard to call, pollsters can predict with certainty how the battle lines will be drawn.

JOE TWYMAN, YOUGOV: It'll all be about come back to what you know. Vote for the two main parties. Don't be tempted by the new and exciting

smaller parties. Stay with us, because we're the only two that can actually stand a chance at delivering a government.

FOSTER: A plea that calls on the electorate to trust in tradition.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[11:55:57] FOSTER: So those are messages really from the part of the big parties, but the smaller parties speaking today and Nigel Farage of

UKIP really saying that you don't have to go this binary system wee got so used to in the UK. There is an alternative now. You can go for a third

option, which is UKIP. And then you've got Nick Clegg at the Lib Dems saying actually you don't have to lurch left or right, you can go for the

center ground with him.

So, there's so much choice for British electors this time around.

And they're not really used to it. They're used to voting one way or another, and that's why to be frank, Robyn, it's looking quite messy at the

moment. We're not used to this sort of thing.

CURNOW: Thanks for that. And no doubt you'll be on top of this story for the next month. So you can queue it all up for us as the days go by.

But thanks. Max Foster there outside the houses of parliament. Appreciate it.

Well, as Yemen lurches from one crisis to the next, and stability seems far away, let's remind ourselves that it hasn't always been so.

This was a country known as Arabia Felix in Roman times, using the Latin for happy. And it's offered some unique contributions to

civilization. Our Parting Shots tonight take us to the city of Shibam (ph), about 500 kilometers southeast of Sanaa. It's a UNESCO world

heritage site. And its mud-built skyscrapers dating from the 16th Century have earned it the nickname Manhattan of the desert.

Well, Dubai and Doha might have better claims to that title now, there's no denying the skill involved in constructing Shibam (ph) or the

individuality of the site, a soaring testament to the ingenuity of the Yemeni people and hopefully one that many more will get to see if the

country finds lasting peace.

Well, I'm Robyn Curnow and that was Connect the World. Thanks for watching.

END