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Gunmen Attack University in Kenya; Houthis Gather To Protest Saudi Airstrikes; Flight Data Recorder Of Germanwings 9525 Discovered; Pope Francis Visits Roman Prison. Aired 11:00-12:00p ET

Aired April 2, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:17] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Mass murder at a Kenyan university. At least 15 are dead and hundreds still unaccounted for as militant group

al Shabaab takes responsibility for the attack. This hour, we're going to get you live to Kenya to bring you the details and chart the unremitting

rise of the east African terror organization.

Also ahead, Houthi rebels come together in the Yemeni capital protesting Saudi-led airstrikes, while in the south they are fighting back.

And nine days after the crash of Germanwings flight 9525, the second flight recorder is discovered. More on that just ahead.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening from the UAE. It is just after 7:00 in the evening here.

A French prosecutor says the second black box from Germanwings flight 9525 has been found. And in the past hour, the prosecutor's office in

Dusseldorf, Germany has revealed investigators recovered a tablet device from the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz apartment. The co-pilot has said to have

searched information about suicide in the days leading up to the crash.

The tablet also had information about cockpit doors.


CHRISTOPH KUMPA, DUSSELDORF PUBLIC PROSECUTOR SPOKESMAN (through translator): We have secured a so-called tablet and analyzed it. Personal

correspondence and search what show that the device was used by the co- pilot from 16th to 23rd of March is recorded on this device.


ANDERSON : We're going to have more in a live report from Dusseldorf just ahead for you on what is a developing part of that investigation.

In the meantime, I need to get you on to an ongoing terrorist siege at a university in eastern Kenya.

Al Shabaab militants stormed the campus early this morning. At least 15 people, we understand, have been killed, dozens are injured, and more

than 500 are still unaccounted for.

Now witnesses on the scene in Garissa tell us that security forces do have the gunmen cornered inside a single building.

We're told that gunfire can still be heard.

Well, Kenya's president addressed the crisis a few hours ago.


UHURU KENYATTA, KENYAN PRESIDENT: This is the moment for everyone throughout the country to be vigilant as we confront and defeat our



ANDERSON: CNN's Soni Methu has been following the situation as it has unfolded. And she's joining us now from Nairobi. And things still

extremely fluid. What do we know at this point, this hour?

SONI METHU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it's been more than 12 hours now. Police are still very sketchy with the details coming out of

Garissa University College.

But what we do know is that as you mentioned, at least 550 students are still unaccounted for, at least 280 of the students -- of the 800

students are accounted for.

At the moment, Red Cross has set up help centers in Nairobi and in Garissa just to inform the family of the loved ones, as well as to collect

information from the families of those who are being held hostage or who are purported to be in school so that they can have these numbers down.

But so far, some administrators as well are believed to be held hostage, so there's very little information that's coming out about what we

expect in terms of the number of students still being held hostage.

However, according to the al Shabaab Twitter handle, they claim that the numbers are much higher than 15. They say that if Kenyans get in the

situation, they'll see how many they've managed to kill. They also claim that they were able to leave at least 15 Muslims and what the people who

are left -- being held hostage are believed to be Christians. But this is yet to be confirmed. This is just a tweet of social pages from the al

Shabaab tweeting account.

ANDERSON: And Soni, as you speak we're looking at pictures from the scene that have been coming to CNN Center all day, not least of the

security forces there. And there are quite some force on the scene.

How long do security forces believe this will take? I mean, what we understand is that these gunmen are now surrounded, I believe, in one part

of this university building. I think it's a dormitory. Am I right in saying that?

[11:05:20] METHU: Indeed you are, Becky.

It has been more than five hours since police claimed to be in control of the situation. As we mentioned, the president reaffirmed this statement

as well saying that they are in control of the situation. They've deployed the forces where necessary and the forces are in control.

There's heavy presence, as you said, in Garissa right now of security forces and areas around Garissa as well as areas that have received similar


And security has been beefed up.

We don't know how long it's going to take. As I said, it's been more than five hours since police say that they've cornered these attackers in

one corner.

It's more scary for people who have their loved ones spared, thinking or wondering what could be happening in that one dormitory, how many people

are in there. And we believe we'll hear some horror stories coming out of it just from the eyewitnesses and from the people who were able to flee who

are just speaking to local media here and there.

You can hear their horror stories there. There was indiscriminate shooting at first. There's some few reports that now the separation of

Christians and Muslims, as I mentioned, but this is starting to feel like a Westgate for most people, what they'd hope will be under control in an

hour. It's been now 11 -- more than 11 hours.

We're still waiting to see what will happen. And we're hopeful that the situation will calm down.

There are a few reports that it goes calm sometimes. And on and off you'll hear a gunshot, an explosion, maybe see a flame of fire, but we

cannot confirm from any vantage point what the situation is like on the ground.

ANDERSON: Soni with the details out of Nairobi for you, alluding of course to the Westgate Mall siege, that deadly siege back in September of

2013 that al Shabaab also took responsibility for.

We're going to have a lot more on this breaking story out of Kenya ahead.

We'll be live in Djibouti for you with correspondent Nima Elbagir, longtime Nairobi correspondent, for analysis on the rise of the al Shabaab

group. And we'll hear from someone who witnessed this terrifying attack as it unfolded.

We're also going to take a deeper look at al Shabaab and how it fits into the global jihadist movement.

We'll move on for you. And the crisis in Yemen has taken another layer of complexity this Thursday after al Qaeda fighters freed more than

270 inmates from a prison in the port city of al Mukalla.

Now the senior defense ministry official tells the al Qaeda -- says that the al Qaeda militants took control of a number of government

buildings, including a bank and a radio station. Officials here, a senior al Qaeda figure, was among the prisoners released. Government forces

engaged in clashes with the militants before most of the fighters fled.

Well, this latest twist comes as a small number of troops allied with the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh landed further down the coast in

Aden. And we've just learned that Houthi rebels who he supports have seized the presidential palace in Aden.

Fast moving developments on the ground. Nic Robertson joining me live from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Nic, is it clear who is in control of what at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Aden seems to be the most contentious place at the moment in Yemen. We certainly have seen the

government of President Hadi backed by the Saudi air forces and the southern separatist movement taking control of some areas in the east of

the country, but it is Aden where the most contentious fighting is going on.

The Saudi department of defense here through its spokesman has said that their most intense attacks have been on the roads leading two and from

Aden to try to stop Houthi forces getting there.

But what we have seen today is a small number of Houthi special forces land in the old city of Aden and try to get to the old parliament building


This was an area that had been relatively calm. Now it isn't. Now it seems to be deeply contested.

Also we're hearing that the presidential palace used by President Hadi who fled the country just a few days ago has been overrun.

It is not tactically significant, however, it is in an area that is sort of one of the stronger areas for the southern separatists who support

President Hadi. So that tells you that things are changing significantly on the ground in Aden, Becky.

[11:09:58] ANDERSON: And what of, then, the implications and consequences of this jail break that we've been discussing for most of the

day, some near 300 prisoners, some of whom we believe are allied to al Qaeda escaping from a prison, what, some 300 miles east of the city of


We're seen this sort of tactic before in other places in Iraq and various other places where there is sort of significant lawlessness and

chaos on the ground allowing these militant groups to take advantage of what is a power vacuum, but also to free prisoners who have been held for

their militant tendencies in the past.

What do we know? And how important do you think this development is?

ROBERTSON: 270 prisoners freed, perhaps a third of them belonging to al Qaeda. A senior al Qaeda figure Hali Bilafi (ph) was among them. He

had been in jail for about four or five years previously.

He will perhaps be important to the al Qaeda leadership to get him back in play, if you will, but let's just step back and look at the

complexity of it here right now. President Hadi has been until now allying with Saudi Arabia and the United States in tackling al Qaeda in the


Now President Hadi and the southern separatists are taking on the Houthi rebels, al Qaeda themselves have been taking on the Houthi rebels

over the past few years under much stronger terms over the past couple of months. So it is a level of complexity.

But what we know that al Qaeda will do and what it's done in the past here 2011, 2012 where there was instability in Yemen is try to grow their

influence, take control of provinces, even take control of towns to use them as recruitment and training centers.

So this is how al Qaeda and its offshoot ISIS will try to respond to the situation.

So I think when we look at the jailbreak, we have to look at it in all of that complexity there, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, the nuance of what is a very chaotic story on the ground in Yemen out of Riyadh for you tonight.

Nic Robertson.

I want to get you back to the breaking news that we brought you just moments ago on the discovery of the second black box from the Germanwings

plane crash.

CNN's Pamela Brown standing by in Dusseldorf with the very latest for you.

Some significant developments today. What was said in Dusseldorf?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Dusseldorf prosecutor came out and made a really dramatic announcement. It was a short announcement

reading off of a press statement, but he said that Andreas Lubitz, up until the day before the crash, was searching on his tablet methods of how to

commit suicide, different medical treatments. And he said that on at least one day for several minutes he searched terms relating to cockpit doors and

security measures with cockpit doors.

And so this is really the first indication of just how premeditated Lubitz's actions were according to authorities, that he deliberately

crashed that plane into the French Alps.

And we learned from a source close to this investigation that he had had severe depression relapse in 2014. He was desperately seeking help

from doctors, including a neuropsychologist and eye doctor and a sleep specialist.

And then as we learned just one day before the crash he was searching how to commit suicide. And on at least one day, the time frame from March

16 through the 23 searching cockpit door security. Really a dramatic development here.

ANDERSON: Yeah. Pamela Brown for you out of Dusseldorf in Germany.

Still to come this hour here on CNN with Connect the World with me Becky Anderson it is an annual ritual for the pope, but this year it'll be

taking place somewhere a little different: prison. We'll take you live to his humble act later on this hour.

And hundreds remain unaccounted for in Garissa in Kenya after gunmen stormed a university there and continue to hold hostages. This is a story

that we've been on all day on CNN. We'll have the very latest for you up next.


[11:16:29] ANDERSON: We get you updated on our top story here on CNN. A day long terrorist siege continuing at this hour in Kenya.

Here's what we know, fifteen people confirmed dead, dozens hospitalized and more than 500 are still unaccounted for.

Gunmen stormed the university campus east of Nairobi before dawn and opened fire. They are still believed to be holding hostages.

Now this is happening in the town of Garissa. About 150 kilometers from the border with Somalia. And the -- Somalia-based al Shabaab militant

group has claimed responsibility for this assault.

Well, just last month, the U.S. embassy in Kenya warned of possible attacks throughout the country following the death of one of al Shabaab's

leaders. For more on the U.S. reaction to today's university attack let's get to our pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr who is in Washington for


And a breaking news development that will be closely watched in Washington of course, Barbara. The U.S. has been and will continue, I'm

sure, to provide help and support with intelligence about this group.

What are we hearing?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, al Shabaab, as you say, is a group the U.S. has been watching for year. A lot of

concern about them, because they have made a number of statements trying to go after the so-called soft targets: shopping malls and schools like we are

seeing today.

It was just in February that they issued a videotape claiming that they would attack U.S. and European shopping malls.

These soft targets like this University simply there's no practical means to fully protect them. And Kenyan security services have their hands

full when these large attacks happen as we saw with the Westgate Mall a couple of years ago. These can go on for days.

Al Shabaab, you know, they've been driven out of some of their stronghold areas in next door Somalia by African Union troops and so some

people may see this as a sign of al Shabaab weakness. But I don't think the U.S. takes it quite that way fully, because U.S. troops and U.S.

intelligence community have staged a number of raids in recent months, commando raids, into Somalia to go after top al Shabaab leadership.

They've had some success in killing off the leadership, either through drone attacks, or U.S. Navy SEAL raids.

Clearly, a big effort to try and go after the al Shabaab leadership. Today, we are seeing al Shabaab with their strength going after the soft

targets against very innocent civilians -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Barbara Starr is in Washington with some context from there.

Nima Elbagir following developments -- thank you, Barbara -- from nearby Djibouti. Nima was until recently based out of Nairobi and she has

a deep understand of al Shabaab and the fight against terror there.

Nima, Kenya has posted a most wanted notice for a man in connection with this attack. The notice office a reward of some 20 million Kenyan

shillings, about $215,000. And the name listed is Mohammed Mahmoud (ph).

Now I know that there are a number of these wanted notices after the Westgate Mall siege as well. How much success are Kenyan authorities

having on the ground going after those that they know to be in a sort of commanding role with al Shabaab?

[11:20:06] NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is really the heart of the issue here, Becky, that they haven't had pretty

much any tangible successes. We are over a year-and-a-half since that horrifying Westgate Mall attack. Now one has been held accountable. The

families of the victims haven't had any answers, the Kenyan people often when we speak to those in Nairobi, when we speak to our colleagues and our

friends, says the issue that comes up again and again.

Not only is Kenya still vulnerable to al Shabaab attacks that -- as has been proved today and has been proved consistently in the past that

Westgate still remain such a horrifying mark of shame on the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta. There has been no resolution.

And al Shabaab, this is now al Shabaab really is under attack. They lost their leader Bidani (ph). They lost the head of the Amniat (ph).

They've lost another very senior figure who has defected to the Somali government. And yet they continue to prove that they are able to carry out

these kind of spectaculars as they call them, while at the same time being very strongly wooed, we understand, from ISIS to try and complete its arc

of allegiance stretching from that coast of Africa all the way to the other side to Boko Haram, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And we're looking at pictures from 2013 from May 2013. We've also, as you've been speaking, looking at some of the footage

from September of 2013 and that dreadful, deadly Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi.

I want to get us back, if we can, to some of the -- some of the shots and images that we are seeing from this siege that is ongoing at present.

Today, some 500 people unaccounted for, 15 already dead, tens have been injured in this attack. This is the attack going on today.

Al Shabaab, Nima, has been at war with Kenya since east African countries sent troops in to fight the group on neighboring Somali soil if

not before that.

After the Westgate Mall siege a year or so ago, we discussed whether Kenya might be so terrorized as to pull its troops. But the government at

that time was defiant.

Are you confident that they will still stand by this?

ELBAGIR: Well, their presence in the African Union force really is the one success that the Kenyan government has consistently pointed back to

in terms of achieving any kind of push back to al Shabaab, the fact that they've pushed them out of the urban areas, the fact that al Shabaab is a

very different force than it was before that concerted effort by others -- by Kenya and its partners in the African Union force there. This really is

their only success. And I find it very hard to believe that they would step away from that.

But all that's happening, really, is that we've seen al Shabaab mutate. We've seen them evolve to work around that threat on Somali soil

and consistently bring the fight back into Kenya. They have consistently shown the porousity (ph) of that Kenyan-Somali border, which Garissa is

very, very close to.

And this, as you said, comes after consistent warnings from the U.S. embassy, from western diplomats, that these soft targets remain very much

on al Shabaab's radar.

Al Shabaab wants to show that in this very competitive, very crowded international marketplace, if you will, of Jihadi groups, that is still a

name to watch. And they've proven that.

And of course all this comes ahead of President Obama's expected visit to Kenya in July. That was supposed to be about Kenya's place as the

regional economic dynamo, about entrepreneurship. What al Shabaab has managed to do is it has brought the spotlight right back on to security and

on to its presence in the Horn of Africa -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nima joining you out of Djibouti this evening. Always a pleasure, Nima. Thank you.

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

Coming up, we're going to speak to someone who witnessed this terror attack in Garissa unfold. So, it was on a college campus, of course, in

Kenya. And we're going to speak to them just after this short break.

Coming back after this.



[11:26:10] JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMEGING MARKETS EDITOR: Small and sleak, or long and lavish, investing in floating real estate has always been the

epitome of luxury spending. After a few languid years following the global financial crisis, the toys of the super rich are back in fashion.

Over 26,000 local and international visitors turned up at the international boat show in Dubai this year. And Greg Steiner of art

marine, a UAE-based yacht program marine management company says he's keen to get a slice of the industry pie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are targeting $35 million. Being humble. But if we do manage with one of our brands to sell a very sizable yacht, we

can easily double that.

So it is not about numbers, it's about the size and value of a particular yacht.

DEFTERIOS: A smart strategy when this 20 meter Italian luxury speedboat goes for $5 million.

Still a small price to pay compared to the mega yacht sailing the world. In fact, most of the top 10 super yachts in the world are known or

rumored to be owned by rich, but discrete Gulf sheikhs.

One of the reasons that Blom and Vance (ph), makers of Roman Ibramovic's super yacht, the Eclipse, sees lots of potential in the Middle


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are only not only 6,000 or 7,000 yachts over 25 meters in the world, and when you look at the total group of

billionaires, or of multi-multimillionaires, especially here in this region, the potential is vast.

DEFTERIOS: Owning a boat is all well and good, but it's the lack of square meters on where to park it posing the biggest challenge today.

That's why we're starting to see here in the UAE waterfront developments and even marinas to entice the boat owners to hit the sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the restrictions in this region is simply there are no facilities. There's no infrastructure for large yachts. The

yachts that we build could not physically come into this marina.

DEFTERIOS: Kutz (ph) says that the UAE is now just a staging post between the Mediterranean and Asia. (inaudible) is one of the regional

players out to change that. It's ranked number 11 of the global yacht building companies.

Most of them are built here , a large shipyard employing 1,200 people in the small northern emirate of Umm al-Quwain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen a continuous 5 to 10 percent growth over the last 10 years, thriving on the Gulf expansion, but also building a

product range that seems to be attracted for European and southeast Asian buyers.

DEFTERIOS: Like this $7 million 33 meter yacht on its way to Singapore, more evidence of an industry willing to move where the money is.

John Defterios, CNN, Dubai.



[11:31:33] ANDERSON: At just after half past 7:00 in the UAE, you're back with Connect the World and me Becky Anderson. The top stories for you

here on CNN this hour.

And Kenyan security forces are trying to bring to an end a standoff with al Shabaab's militants who have stormed a university in the town of

Garissa. This is early Thursday morning that this happened. And it is unclear how many people are still being held hostage, but hundreds are

unaccounted for. Officials say at least 15 people have been killed in this attack and dozens have been injured, some of them critically.

Well, officials in Yemen says hundreds of inmates, many with links to al Qaeda are on the run after a prison break. They say al Qaeda militants

stormed the prison in the city of al Mukalla east of the capital Sanaa. At least 270 prisoners were freed, including a senior al Qaeda figure. Now

fierce fighting has been reported further down the coast in Aden.

A French prosecutor says recovery workers have found the contents of the second black box from the Germanwings flight 9525. It is hoped that

the flight data recorder will be able to shed more light on what exactly happened on the plane. Now the co-pilot of the plane is accused of

deliberately bringing it down in the French Alps.

And we are awaiting a news conference out of Lausanne in Switzerland where Iran and six world powers are meeting to discuss a nuclear deal. A

European Union representative involved with these talks has called a news conference. These talks have been a marathon, of course, been continuing

after negotiators extended the deadline for a framework agreement.

Well, in Iraq there is still fear in the northern city of Tikrit days after ISIS fighters there were driven out. Iraqi forces continue to sweep

the city, but only to find vehicles laden with explosives and buildings that may be booby trapped to CNN's Arwa Damon along with photojournalist

Brice Lane (ph) and produce Hamdi al Sali (ph) had an exclusive look inside the city shortly after it was liberated. Have a look at this.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The smoke hangs thick over parts of the city we drive through. It's the smoldering of

buildings, some people's homes. Rigged with IEDs, we're told, Iraqi forces couldn't disable so they say they had to detonate. The city, a web of

potential threats left behind.

(on camera): The building there, they had put explosives into the staircase that detonated when one of their commanders went in.

(voice-over): He was trying to take down the ISIS flag and raise the Iraqi one. He was killed along with one other. Elsewhere, roads still need

to be cleared.

(on camera): That vehicle right there had a heavy machine gun on it that was being used by ISIS. We're not able to advance beyond it in this

particular direction because even though they say there's no threat up there posed by ISIS fighters, there is still the possibility of the road,

the buildings being filled with various different types of bombs.

(voice-over): One they diffused nearby.


DAMON (on camera): This is some of the IEDs that they found lying around. This was a bulldozer lying on its side that they found filled with

barrels that were all packed with explosives.

(voice-over): Saddam Hussein's presidential compound where ISIS was at its strongest, a charred body, we're told, of one of their fighters. The

palaces today more damaged than they were during the U.S.-led invasion. Somewhere within the sprawling complex lie some of the mass graves of Shia

recruits. Hundreds, possibly more than 1,000 executed when ISIS first took over Tikrit last June. Under this bridge, one of the killing sites.


[11:35:22] DAMON (voice-over): There aren't many left here, Colonel (inaudible) with the federal police explains.

(on camera): So this is how they're spying on the ISIS fighters. They've set the radio to their frequency.

(voice-over): Next to us, a building hit in a recent coalition airstrike. The police force has been asked to return to work, he says, and

there will be a temporary force to support the local police. The force that moved into this predominantly Sunni city, a combination of Iraqi security

forces and the popular mobilization units, the PMUs, mostly made up of Iranian-backed Shia militias and volunteers. Gunfire still reverberates,

some from pockets where ISIS is still holding out, much of it celebratory. Severed head in hand, one PMU fighter cries out.


DAMON (voice-over): "This is one of the ISIS rats. These are not Muslims. Let them see what we did to them. We are coming to get them in


The hands are bound on the headless body on the pavement. The man had been detained and then shot and decapitated. The crowd breaks out into a

celebratory dance. Iraqi security forces tell us the PMU fighters cannot all be controlled, something the city's population fears when they return

to the lives they left behind.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Tikrit, Iraq.


ANDERSON: Let's bring in Arwa Damon who is back in Baghdad this evening. This is remarkable access that what looks like a ghost town, but

full of ordinance, of course, as you rightly pointed out.

One assumes this has been left by the retreating militants. I know there are very few people left. How are those who are there, residents of

Tikrit, coping? And how confident are people this is the end of ISIS in Tikrit?

DAMON: Well, Becky, at this stage we don't really know how the residents were coping, because we didn't see any, not a single civilian in

the hours that we spent there. We did, however, hear from Iraq's minister of defense. And we interviewed him earlier today that some families had

begun to go back home.

And one can just imagine what their reaction is going to be when they see their homes.

The Iraqi government at this stage is not encouraging families to return because of the ordinance that is everywhere, because of all the

streets, buildings, that still need to be potentially cleared of explosives, because of the lack of basic services and infrastructure -- it

quite simply does not exist in Tikrit at this stage. So they really want to make sure that all of those aspects are in order before they begin

actively encouraging families to return.

But we are hearing that some young men are going back trying to survey what may be remaining of their homes. And there are also concerns that

looting might be taking place. And so that is causing some young men to return back home just to stand guard.

People when it comes to whether or not Tikrit will remain liberated, it's really going to be up to whether or not this iraqi force can actually

hold this ground. This is also something that the minister of defense mentioned to us saying that they did have lessons learned from other parts

of the country where they tried to hold ground against ISIS failed. And then had to fight to retake it.

They do not want to see that happening again when it comes to Tikrit.

The plan, according to the minister of defense, is to ask the local police to return. They have a force of around 6,000 volunteers from the

province, from the area in and of itself. They, too, will be responsible for security beefed up by additional elements from the Iraqi army and other

police units should ISIS try to retake the city, Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa Damon is in Baghdad for you this evening with the footage there of her trip to Tikrit. Thank you.

We're awaiting a news conference out of Lausanne this hour in Switzerland where Iran and six world powers are meeting to discuss a

nuclear deal. Marathon talks have been continuing after negotiators extended what was a self-imposed deadline of March 31 for what is a

framework agreement.

Well, CNN's Hala Gorani joining me now live from Lausanne. What do we know at this point, Hala?

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know much. We know that in a few hours we're expecting a news conference. That

announcement was made just a few minutes ago. There is a bus parked outside the Beau Rivage Palace, so it's out there carrying journalists,

cameramen and photographers to the Polytechnic University here in Lausanne where we expect this news conference to take place.

I had an opportunity to ask a few questions of the Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif earlier this morning. And essentially, he

lowered expectations there saying we'll have a news statement, a news release hopefully -- I can't confirm it, though that appears to be

materializing right now. I don't think we should expect any firm parameters to be announced at this point.

It appears as though after eight days of talks, after having missed the self-imposed deadline, even the Iranian foreign minister saying, look,

the deadline has always been the end of the month of June, it was never March 31. This was a preliminary, temporary sort of midway deadline what

was established in order to give us the basis, the foundation for a more firm agreement.

So it appears as though that's what's going to happen based on some of the sources we're speaking to as well here that this is just going to be a

way of sort of like describing the process as very good talks. We've made progress on a bunch of things, but we still have a few key issues to

discuss, Becky.

[11:41:03] ANDERSON: Yeah, and is it clear what those key issues are at this point?

GORANI: Well, I think if you listen to the Iranian foreign minister, who uses the media very well, by the way, it has to be said. I mean, he

stops. He talks to Journalists. He takes afternoon walks and slows down when he sees the cameras.

You know, he is trying to communicate his message. And he's doing it in a very effective way.

He was very clear that sanctions, the pace of lifting these sanctions is something that is extremely important to the Iranians. They want all of

the sanctions removed at once, but really what they want are financial sector sanctions and trade sanctions to be removed. This is what's been

crippling their economy. It's what made it -- it's what's made it much more difficult for them to take in revenue from oil fails.

So, if this is kind of the discussion that's going on now as to how quickly and what sanctions will come off first, if there's been agreement

on that, then that's going to be a big step forward.

So we're just going to have to wait and see in a few hours exactly what's announced and whether we'll get specifics, Becky.

ANDERSON: Hala Gorani is in Lausanne in Switzerland. Hala, thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World. Coming up, a deeper look at Yemen. One week after a Saudi-led coalition

launched airstrikes against government rebels there, the military and humanitarian cost of what is going on is up next.


ANDERSON: Right. You join us inside the bureau here at CNN in Abu Dhabi. I want to get you back to the crisis in Yemen.

Thousands of Houthi Shiites gather in the capital Sanaa in uniting in protest over the Saudi-led airstrikes against them, which remember began

exactly a week ago. Now the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 400 people have been killed, among them many civilians.

Well, these are some of the lucky ones, 350 Indian nationals now repatriated after being rescued from Aden by their country's navy.

Well, this mass movement of people, of course, in turn creates a humanitarian emergency in a country that was struggling with abject poverty

long before the latest outbreak of violence. Our regular contributor on this program Faisal al-Yafai is chief economist at The National Newspaper

here in Abu Dhabi joining me now to offer some insight into exactly what we are seeing going on.

This is a spiraling crisis, of course, Faisal. Two key developments that we've seen happening today. Let me just get our viewers through

those, because this will give us a sense of where this struggle is.

al Qaeda, whose presence was felt in the port city of Mukalla earlier as we've reported and whose range extends all the way now through the

country, believed to the border in the east.

The epicenter of the violence in recent days has arguably been here in Aden, pivotal in terms of its import and its location near the mouth of the

Red Sea and claims that pro-Saleh forces have come ashore and that fighting ensues with pro-Hadi troops in this region.

Give me a sense firstly of the implications or consequences of these two sort of contesting stories that we've seen here today.

[11:46:39] FAISAL AL-YAFAI, THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER: Yeah, so these (inaudible) international community was what happened in Mukalla when you

had al Qaeda forces storming this prison and now 300 of them are on the run. No one knows where they are.

This whole place, the (inaudible) is very sparsely populated. It's really bandit country. So they could have gone to ground anywhere along

this path.

The majority of Yemen's population lives here within this region, 90 percent of them. It is on Aden that all eyes are turning now, because it

is in Aden that this war will be decided.

ANDERSON: Who is in charge of what at this point?

YAFAI: OK, so you have the Houthis traditionally have controlled this part in the north. They move from September -- they moved down into Sanaa

through Ta'izz and now down towards Aden. They are in control, but they are very -- they are very strung out, so the can't really hold that many

positions. That's why Aden is the place that really matters, because that is where they are concentrating their forces. That's where the

international community is going to go.

ANDERSON: What we do, though, know -- or at least we understand today, is that they have quite some power still in Aden. There's been some

talk that boats coming down the coast, which have been supported by the former president Saleh, who may or may not be out of the country. Believe

he is at this point. Very strong support for these Houthi militia from the former president.

And that begs talk if indeed the Houthi militia are still in control. Whatever is happening in the air with the Saudi-led invasion, that begs

talk once again of the possibility of a ground invasion

I want you to give me a sense across this country how that would work if it were to happen.

YAFAI: All right. If it were to happen, it would be the Egyptians who apparently are here around the Bab el-Mandab (ph). They have four

warships here. so they would be coming that way into Aden.

Aden, when you look closely at it, is surrounded on three sides by the Arabian Sea, so you can only really approach it from one place by land,

which means the route is from the sea.

The other route is by air into Aden for the Saudi troops. Those would be the two groups that would try to take back Aden from the Houthis.

ANDERSON: What happens here elsewhere along the border? I mean, if Saudi were to use troops, for example, could those come south from the


YAFAI: I think the scenario that the Saudis would want to avoid would be to have their troops come down this way. This is a long journey all the

way down fighting all the way.

ANDERSON: And mountainous, correct?

YAFAI: And mountainous all across this region. It would be an extremely difficult slog. And they have the weapons to go -- they have to

technology to go all the way around. So they won't take the road.

ANDERSON: 2009, I think something like 133 odd Saudi soldiers lost their lives in the fight against militia in Yemen. We've also seen talk,

or heard talk, that the Egyptians, for example, would be prepared to use their own ground troops in any ground invasion. But again, the Egyptians

have a history here, and it's not a pleasant one, is it?

YAFAI: For them it is now. They consider it to be something of their Vietnam when they entered in the 60s on opposite sides actually at the bad

point of the Saudis. And, yes, they were pushed out and defeated.

The Saudis have never come this far in. The fights that you're eluding to in 2011 was here in Sanaa province.

They came in across the border and went back very swiftly. And they have never come this far south in recent memory. So it's a sea change in

terms of Saudi's behavior.

[11:50:08] ANDERSON: Fascinating.

Well, we'll see what happens in the days to come. We do know that President Hadi, for example is in Riyadh. We hear that there is talk when

they are trying to find a political solution, also heard talk that the international community might be persuade the -- those involved to get into

talks in Oman, for example. So lots of things going on to the north, as it were whilst we continue to see the action on the ground.

Faisal, always a pleasure.

If you want to find out exactly what the Houthis and pro-Saleh forces have to contend to, do go on to the website online. We break down Saudi

Arabia's military might there and assess just how much of it they are prepared, or would be prepared, to use in Yemen. where you can of course keep up to date with all of the latest developments in what is a very fast moving story.

We're live from Abu Dhabi, I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World. Coming up, the pope at a high security prison -- an unlikely image.

But this holy Thursday, we'll be following him there for what is an annual pre-Easter ritual.

We're taking a very short break. Back after this.


ANDERSON: Well, in tonight's parting shots, Catholics around the world are celebrating holy Thursday. And right now Pope Francis is in the

high security Rabidia (ph) prison in Rome celebrating mass with inmates there keeping with a tradition carried out by other priests on this day,

the pope washes the feet of 12 people.

Well, today those 12 are inmates at that prison.

You'll recall the pope also did this two years ago at a juvenile detention center.

I cross live to Rome. And CNN's Ben Wedeman joining us now.

And continuing in what is this habit, as it were, to get in amongst the people, and today in amongst those in a prison, Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There's a pleasure, Becky, to actually be reporting on possibly the only positive

item in this news broadcast, which of course is the spectacle of the pope, the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion people, prostrating himself before 12

individuals, prisoners, six men from this Rabibia (ph) maximum security prison and six women from an adjacent women's prison where he will wash

their feet.

This, of course, goes back to the Last Supper of Jesus when he washed the feet of 12 disciplines.

So certainly it's of huge symbolic importance. And of course this pope has broken with tradition. Now only does he wash the feet of women,

two years ago at a juvenile detention center, he also washed the feet of a Muslim woman. So certainly he is once again breaking the mold in his role

as pope. Now he's been pop more than two years. So he certainly is perhaps projecting an image that one doesn't see much very often these days

-- Becky.

[11:55:27] ANDERSON: Good to see you, Ben. And in Rome for once as well in the safety of that beautiful city.

All right, Ben Wedeman for you this evening.

Are you a fan of Pope Francis? What do you think the secret of his popularity is? Well, let us know either way. The team at Connect the

World always wants to hear from you. Go to to watch our latest videos. You can tweet me @BeckyCNN. And I'm also on

Instagram. That's @BeckyCNN.

Is Ben -- if Ben is still here with us, Ben, we were asking our viewers what they think is the reason for this man's popular -- oh, I think

he's gone. That's a shame, I was wanting to get his sense on what the answer to that question was.

But I'm Becky Anderson, I want to leave you with these pictures on what is this very important day. Holy Thursday mass and some pictures

there for you of Pope Francis. We'll leave you with those as we close out the show.