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CONNECT THE WORLD
U.S. Service Member Killed In Afghanistan; U.S. Police Officer Charges With Murder; What Next For Saudi-led Coalition?; U.S. To Step Up Support for Saudi Coalition Against Houthi Rebels; Kenyan School Teachers Risk Life On Somalia Border. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 8, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:19] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: A decade's old struggle, a two-week old war, and neither side seems close to backing down as the threat of a
ground battle looms.
You're not denying it (inaudilbe)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It is one of the options.
ANDERSON: Desperation on the ground as Yemenis struggle for survival. and aid agencies face their own fight to reach those in need.
Plus, from the Saudi leadership and its international allies, tenacity (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saudi Arabia is sending a strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force.
ANDERSON: This hour, I'll challenge the deputy U.S. Secretrary of State on his country's role in the escalating crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live all this week from the Saudi Capital Riyadh.
Well, for the past fortnight, this country has fronted an air camaign against Houthi rebels and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
in Yemen. Today, a development that could add an extra dimention to the fight: Iranian media report that Tehran has deployed a naval flotila to the
adjacent Gulf of Aden, though it's commander denies any link to recent events.
Well, meanwhile, more targets on shore are being pounded by those airstrikes.
As the warring factions in Yemen stand their ground, the humanitarian crisis only grows. The Inernational Committee of the Red Cross is hoping
to ease the suffering by flying in two planes carrying 48 tons of aid.
But the aid group is also facing a tough battle getting help to those who need it. A shipment from Doctors Without Borders did reach Aden earlier.
Well, along Saudi Arabia's border with Yemen, the prospect if a new chapter in this conflict casts an ominous shadow at a time, any time Saudi ground
troops could be deployed to try to degrade the capabilities of opposing forces on the ground.
Nic Robertson joining me now from the city of Jizan (ph) near the border with Yemen.
What'st he perspective from there, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, Becky, the army that we see here are aligned along the border in a defensive posture, however
that's the army we're able to see. There are places that we can't go to along the border, so we don't know what the army has deployed there.
We do know taht the army has moved significant reinforcements up to the border. They have at their disposal hundreds of top class M1A2 Abrahms
tanks if they choose to use them. They have a significant military force with high tech weapons should they choose to go across the border.
Where we are, the mountains where we're standing here across those mountains is really the stronghold where the Houthis are. Their sort of
base, if you will, it's where they have the most support. It would be unlikely to see the Saudi forces put ground troops in from here potentially
along the coast. That would be trecherous and incredibly unlikely.
Potentially way further to the east where they might be in Yemen able to count on the support of tribes there, or potentially if they can gain
control of Aden -- and Aden today saw fierce fighting, Aden would be a place to put ashore a force, get politicians from the former government or
the current internationally recognized government, get them back inside Yemen and then try to build from there to take more territory.
But, what we see at the border here there is a buildup of the army. Are they leaning forward, or are they in a defensive posture? What we're able
to see, Becky, is a defensive posture.
ANDERSON: Nic, clearly it's innocent Yemenis who are suffering the fallout of this conflict. And with aid agencies struggling ot get in and
evacuaees, quite frankly, struggling to get out. The very desperate have been making what is a very long and dangerous journey, I kno,w to the
border area where you are to try and escape.
What have people been telling you?
ROBERTSON: Well, what the Saudi border officials are doing is anyone that arrives at the border who is fleeing under extreme circumstances, who
doesn't have a Saudi visa to come into the country, they are opening the doors and letting them in
Any that need medical treatment, they're getting medical treatment. Those that are allowed in who don't have, you know, a proper visa, are being
taken tothe airport and given flights to get them where they need to be -- closer, back to their families, their countries of origin.
What they are telling us is a desperate and frightening, long road journey. We've heard of -- we talk to people who across the sea and fled across the
sea, too afraid to make the drives; others who have made the drive and they're coming -- you know, they're coming with children, they're coming
with family possessions. So it's a huge challenge and a huge concern.
But the Saudis are making them welcome and are assisting them and traveling on, Becky.
[08:05:44] ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is there close to the border, as we've been discussing. Questions remain about the likelihood and the timing of a
Saudi-led ground campaign in Yemen.
Late last night, I spoke to Brigadier General Ahmed bin Hassan Asiri, who is the military spokesman for the coalition. Here is his take on that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: In Afghanistan and in Iraq, it was clear that airstrikes along were not suficient, that ground troops were and are needed. Will ground
troops be needed in Yemen?
BRIG.GEN. AHMED ASIRI, SAUDI DEFENSE SPOKESMAN: We have criteria for each phase. And we have objectives to achieve. Once we achieve the air
campaign objectives and we reach the phase of the ground offensive, or ground operation, we will let you know.
ANDERSON: You're not denying that it could or would happen.
ASIRI: Yes, it is one of the options. But how would we conduct, when will it be conducted, I think it is obvious that we cannot declare it.
ANDERSON: Why have there been holdups in the delivery of aid to Yemen?
ASIRI: Now actually we are in the peak of our air campaign. And it's one of our objectives using this campaign is to relieve the population from
ANDERSON: So you don't accept the criticism from aid agencies that the Saudi-led coalition has got in the way?
ASIRI: We don't have any case that the delay was having from the coalition.
ANDERSON: There is much discussion about the influence of Iran in Yemen. The Saudi ambassador to Washington recently said that he believes there are
assets from the elite military force there. Are there?
ASIRI: We are not talking about speculation here, we are talking about evident. Militias had Scud, fighter jets, artillery. Recently, they
conduct a very big exercise on our borders in the presence of consultant -- Iranian consultant and Hezbollah instructors. This is why those coalition
-- those countries joined the coalition, because they understand where are the dangers.
We in Saudi Arabia, we accept to have a neighborhood -- in every country, I mean, with a strong army. But we cannot accept that militias have Scuds,
The Iranian declared one day that now we have a border with Saudi Arabia. One day they declared that we have fourth Arabic capital under our control.
What evidence more than we're asking to have?
ANDERSON: Well, stay with us this hour as we bring you more on the crisis in Yemen. In a few minutes, I'm going to get your my interview with the
deputy U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken. He was here yesterday. He's in the Gulf, in the Emirates today, in which I press him on the extent of
U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led coalition.
Well move you on away from here for a moment and to Afghanistan now where a U.S. soldier has been shot and killed by a member of the Afghan national
army. Now this happened earlier today in Jalalabad. Senior interntional corresponent Nick Paton Walsh has been following this story for us form
Beirut, recently back from Afghanistan himself. He joins us now.
Just two weeks ago, Nick, the U.S. announced it was slowing down the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. What are the details on this latest
incident and loss of life?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What this kind of attack affects, exactly the presence that the U.S. is thinking about
prolonging, and that's their trainers to the east, certainly here.
Now this was a meeting of both diplomat and U.S. military personnel occurring at the governor's compound in Jalalabad. We were around that
area ourselves just over a week ago now. And apparently this meeting ended. Now U.S. personnel fly around that area mostly in helicopters.
Now it ended and they emerged from the governor's compound. Of Course, because of the prevelant nature of these insider attacks there are a lot of
U.S. security involved. In fact a group called Guardian Angels that specifically are there to protect U.S. personnel from any Afghan security
forces who might go rogue in incidents like this.
Now in this instance, the meeting ended. The U.S. diplomats and soldiers emerged from the compound. An Afghan soldier used a heavy machine gun on
top of an Afghan military truck, local police tell us, to open fire upon the U.S. personnel, one killed, some injured, not clear their nationality,
there's U.S. and Polish specifically in that particular area right now. And then the assailant killed presumably by return of fire from the U.S.
there to other Afghans wounded, not clear if they were involved in the attack or caught in the crossfire.
But this just scores the dangers now most prevalant against a very limited U.S. mission and presence still in the east of the country, which we saw
ourselves in that very area of Jalalabad just over a week ago.
WALSH: This is how it ends here. No helicopter evacuation from an embassy roof. Instead, Blackhawks bouncing officers around a handful of multiple
(inaudible) from the front lines. And a race to ready the Afghans to go it alone before the U.S. leaves late next year.
This supply center for police is meant to supply uniforms and even ammunition to the whole east, but it's far from main roads with bad cell
phone coverage. Doors don't have handles. Afghans here tell us the water and electricity have problems, ask who will maintain it? Finished four
months ago, it so far hasn't supplied anyone. The cost: $21 million.
About Afghans living here now, so about 400,000 U.S. dollars, taxpayer money, per Afghan at the moment. It's going to be difficult, isn't it, to
get this done under the clock you're working under.
[11:11:49] COLONEL J.B. VOWELL, U.S. ARMY: It's a challenge, make no doubt. It is going to be a challenge to get all those hubs and spokes and
logistics and sustainment to maintenance, supplies, resupply, requisition.
I'm optimistic, though. Much of this didn't even exist in November.
WALSH: America's longest war is ending, and it has left Afghanistan indelibly changed. Some of their police now die in old Humvees. It is
rare now for Americans to drive around here, flying over valleys where they once faced the Taliban who are now vying with ISIS for young, angry
This war is barely recognizable. The main threat here now rogue Afghans opening fire on foreigners. We were surrounded at all times by a security
Well, this is about as close to front line as these American troops will get here in Afghanistan, and they are on guard against insider attacks here
in an Afghan police base. Their job now, to train. Combat over.
The Afghan military is marching to stand still. Recent figures suggest one in 10 of these new graduates will desert in the coming year. Barack Obama
has slowed America's departure, but only a fraction. Drones and special forces will fight on unseen, but to the levers of power in what was once
called the graveyard of empires: America will let go.
WALSH: Now so limited is that U.S. president, it's actually remarkable to note how they hop between secure locations. The threat reduced on the
outside from the insurgency, but that is why these insider attacks are so key, it seems. The insurgent's strategy, it makes it very hard for that
interaction the Americans need with the Afghans they're training, handing security over to, because as you saw there they have to secure themselves,
have a security details with them.
In fact, those men standing often between, their weapons drawn us and the American officials and the Afghans there, too.
So, a very complex situation. The threat is increasing. The Taliban resurgent. ISIS getting a foothold. The Afghan military having a real
dessertion problem, too. That U.S. timetable for a wthdrawal slightly slowed, but it doesn't change the broader picture. They're all in the
embassy by the end of next year, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, Nick Paton Walsh reporting. Thank you, Nic.
Still to come tonight, suspects in what was the deadly attack at a Kenyan university appeared in court. We'll have the very latest from Nairobi for
And just ahead after this short break, my interview with deputy U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. You'll get the back story on U.S.
involvement in this conflict in Yemen.
I'm Becky Anderson, this is Connect the World live from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia this evening. Do stay with us.
[11:17:07] ANDERSON: Well, desperation exemplified on the streets of Aden as the sound of gunshots rings from the building to building, a fighter
struggles to safety, but shelter, I'm afraid, is in short supply. Survival favors the fittest and the lucky ones.
Devastation writ large across swathes of Yemen. Saudi strikes have wiped out entire neighborhoods. Tens of thousands have been forced to flee their
No matter where they end up, respite will likely remain hard to find.
You join us back here in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia as the son goes down and as it has been for the last couple of nights. The imam calling those to
prayer here in the capital.
Well, a leading diplomat, American diplomat, says Washington will speed up its delivery of arms to the anti-Houthi coalition in Yemen. And Deputy
Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. will also share more intelligence with what is this Saudi-led alliance.
Well, I spoke to the secretary about Washington's role a short time ago. Have a listen to this.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: We've been involved from day one. And what the Saudis did, what their Gulf partners did and what
we're supporting is very important.
The Saudis have sent a very strong message with their Gulf partners to the Houthis and their backers that they cannot overrun Yemen by force. And
we've been supporting that effort and that's exactly what we're continuing to do.
ANDERSON: The U.S. has been calling now for some time for political consensus, political solution while now of course stepping up military aid
to the anti-Houthi coalition. What makes you think that this military strategy will work at this point?
BLINKEN: There's broad agreement amoung our partners here in the Gulf that the purpose of the use of force is to stop the Houthi aggression, to
demonstrate to them that they cannot take the country by force, and to get back to the political transition process that their actions have
interrupted. And I think we're seeing significant progress in that -- torward that aim. And the Houthis now know that they cannot succeed
through the use of force. Their backers know that as well.
The only way forward is to get back to the political transition that was established by the Gulf Cooperation Council and the national dialogue that
brought all the Yemenis together. That's what we need to get back to.
ANDERSON: That's certainly what you need to get back to, but I'm here in Riyadh, and it's clear that military action is still the only game in town
to a certain extent. We're hearing very little so far as a political dialogue and solution is concerned. And we've learned from experience that
airstrikes along are not going to achieve what needs to be achieved on the ground. So what's the likelihood of ground troops at this point? And how
involved is the U.S. prepared to get?
[11:20:03] BLINKEN: I don't think anyone is looking at ground troops. Again, in this instance, the fact is that the Houthis and their backers,
because of the strong stance taken by the Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, understands that they cannot succeed militarily. They cannot take
over the whole country. And if they're going to protect their legitimate interests in the country that has to be done through a political process.
I think that realization is setting in. The air campaign is only a couple of weeks old, but we're already seeing an impact. And more and more we're
also seeing at the United Nations countries around the world are pushing for a return to this political process.
ANDERSON: It was only back in September of 2014 that President Obama was touting Yemen as a model of transition. Given what is going on at present,
does Washington concede that it just got this wrong.
BLINKEN: No. In fact, for a number of years Yemen was moving forward. The threat to the United States was posed principally by the presdent of al
Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. And our number one interest was stopping them from pursuing attacks on the United States, on our partners
and our interests.
And indeed working with the Yemeni government and Yemeni forces, we've rolled back AQAP, as it's called, it -- we thwarted attacks. And for a
number of years, that effort was quite successful.
At the same time, we were supporting a political process in Yemen to try to bring the country together politically and to build it up economically.
And that process, too, was moving forward until it was interrupted by the use of force by the Houthis. And that's what we need to get back to now.
ANDERSON: What is a consensus political solution look like? And how invovled would the Houthis be? Does Washington wanta powersharing
government going forward? Do they have legitimate demands?
BLINKEN: The Houthis have to be part of the process. And we've made that clear from the beginning. And indeed we're hearing the same thing from
countries in the Gulf.
But the process is very clear. And it's been laid out in this initiative by the Gulf Cooperation Council, a number of very important agreemetns
emerged from the national dialogue. Right now the way forward -- and there's a clear roadmap to this -- is to finish work on the constitution,
have a referendum on the constitution, and then hold parliamentary and presidential elections. That's the path forward. And the Houthis can and
should be represeneted in that process.
But for anyone to try and disrupt the process, to blow it up, to blow up the consensus that was reached through the national dialogue process, that
ANDERSON: Well, that was Deputy Secretary Blinken speaking to me earlier out of the UAE.
And news just coming through that the UAE foreign minister is asking that the coalition seeks a UN resolution requiring all parties to take part in
dialogue led by the Yemen President Hadi, who we believe is still here in Riyadh. So this coming out of the UAE for you. The foreign minister
saying that the coalition now -- this is the Saudi-led coalition -- seeking a UN restolution requiring all parties to take part in dialogue led by
Yemen President Hadi.
I can tell you that the Houthis have said that they will talk, and this is in the past week or so, they said that they will talk. They said not,
quote, to the aggressor without actually explaining who they mean by that.
So it'll be interesting to see what response from them will be to this UAE call for a UN resolution.
So more coming in for you tonight here on CNN.
There is much more information about this crisis in Yemen on our website. Head there for a throghout guide. Things you need to know about the
unfolding crisis in the country and the options each side has. You'll find all that and more at CNN.com.
What goes on in Yemen, of course, doesn't stay in Yemen. Wherever you are watching in the world, this is a story that has impact.
Live from Riyadh, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
All week, we've been covering Saudi Arabia's role in the midst of regional turmoil, but we ant to bring you a slightly different side of the country
tonight through the eyes of a young Saudi fashion designer. That report is coming up in about 30 minutes time.
Up first, though, this evening we're off to Uganda where one man's skill with a sewing machine is seen not just in the clothes he makes, but also in
the workforce that he's building. A frican Start-up is next. Taking a very short break. Back after this.
[11:36:18] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uganda has the world's largest percentage of people under 30, contributing to high numbers of youth unemployment.
But one young entrepreneur has found a way to make money and provide job training for his community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Walaka Noah (ph). And my company is (inaudible). We do make sweaters and supply them to the various schools
around Kampala, Uganda and East Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2008, during his school vacation, Walaka (ph) visited his grandmother and learned how to knit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was using this bicylcle spieks and knitting with my hands. And it was so amazing, becuase after (inaudible) and we sold it.
Imagine me getting my mony at such an early age, it was so amazing to me.
Like making sweater for an individual -- make for my baby, I make a sweater as I study. And I sit down to the fast machine and made sweaters.
And (inaudible) came up and I had this nursery school that came to me saying that came to me saying can you make for me sweaters?
They had this one order, then came sweaters, five sweaters. But I was so happy. I said, wow, I can do that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walaka registered the company in 2012 and has growng from making just one sweater in three weeks to 10 sweaters a day. He says
the business brings in a little more than $300 a month, which is more than the national average of about $200.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we are mking a sweater, it always starts with this. It's what we do.
All this goes into this machine. And we make the sweaters in this machine.
This is very, very nice because currently we have 48 schools that are working without their partner schools. Whenever they need sweaters or
uniforms, they come straight to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walaka (ph) employees about 20 people, but has trained many more so that they can start a business of their own.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I saw this need of unemployment in my society and my community. I said, no, I can use the skills I have to serve this need.
That's how I came up with sweaters and knitting, and everyone (inaudible) knitting.
When my prints so that this thing it had become serious, they said, wow, we can join him.
This is my mother, and she helps me add up the parts of the sweater together. And this is my father, who is (inaudible) accounting.
These are some of the kids in my community wearing the sweaters and the uniforms. And well this is what they do. Getting people to believe in
you, to believe in your dream, to believe in your passion, it's a big challenge that we face (inaudible), but if you keep persisting one to each,
you'll find it overcome.
[11:31:30] ANDERSON: This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour here on CNN. Saudi-led airstrikes have
hit a Houthi rebel stronghold in northwest Yemen. The raid caused significant damage to a gas storage plant and a communications facility.
Well, this came as state media in Iran said two Iranian warships are heading to the Gulf of Aden, reportedly on an anti-piracy mission.
ISIS has released more than 200 Yazidi captives in Iraq's Kirkuk Province, that's according to an official with the Kurdish regional government. It's
not clear what motivated the release of the religious minority members who were captured, you may remember, by ISIS late last year.
Well, in Kenya the first coffin carrying a victim of last week's massacre in Garissa has now left the morgue in Nairobi. 147 people were killed when
al Shabaab militants stormed the university campus not far from the Somali border. All but five of the victims were students.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime MInister Alexis Tsipras have met in Moscow a day before Greece is expected to pay back a half a
billion dollars on its IMF loan. Mr. Putin says Greece hasn't asked his country for any financial help.
Well, another troubling police shooting is igniting outrage in the United States. Protesters are calling for justice after a white policeman shot
and killed an apparently unarmed black man in South Carolina. The shooting was captured on video and now that police officer is charged with Murder.
Ed Lavandera has this report. And I want to warn you, the video you're about to see is disturbing.
ED LAVANEDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the video starts, Walter Scott is turning and running away from the officer.
Eights shots and four seconds later, the 50 year old man falls to the ground at least 25 feet away, pronounced dead at the scene a little later.
As Scott's body lays on the ground, Officer Slager is heard yelling put your hands behind your back.
Immediately after the deadly shooting this past Saturday in the South Carolina town of North Charleston, Officer Michael Slager said there was a
scuffle over his TASER and that he felt threatened. Another officer says in a police report, Officer Slager advised that he deployed his TASER and
request for backup units and then seconds later the officer says Slager says over the radio shots fired and the subject is down. He took my TASER.
At the beginning of the video, you can see two dark objects fall to the ground around Officer Slager. It's not clear if this is part of his TASER,
but Officer Slager goes back to that spot and picks the object up and then a little later you see Officer Slager drop what could be his TASER on the
ground next to Walter Scott's body.
Then moments later, the officer picks up what he earlier dropped to the ground.
Michael Slager has been charged with murder by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division. He's a five year veteran of the police department.
His lawyer telling local news media after the shooting that Officer Slager believed he followed all the proper prosedures of the North Charleston
Police Department. That lawyer no longer represents the officer.
But North Charleston's mayor says Officer Slager made a bad decision.
MAYOR KEITH SUMMEY, NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: When you are wrong, you're wrong. And if you mak a bad decision, don't care if you are behind
the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that deicision. And so we as a city want the family to know that our hearts and
our thoughts are with them.
[11:35:09] LAVANDERA: North Charleston police also say that after the shooting police officers provided CPR and first aid to Walter Scott, but
several minutes pass on this video and no officers are seen providing first aid even as ambulance sirens are heard in the distance.
Even Officer Slager's boss, the department's police chief, says murder charges are appropriate in this shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation revealed what it revealed. And we are obligated to do what the law dictates if the investigation so revealed
that. And it appears that through this videotape that's where it fell.
LAVANDERA: Tuesday night, Walter Scott's family reacted to the news that the officer had been charged with murder.
ANTHONY SCOTT, VICTIM'S BROTHER: We can't get my brother back. And my family is in deep mourning for that. But through the process, justice has
been served. And I don't -- I don't think that all police officers are bad cops, but there are some bad ones out there. And I don't want to see
anyone get shot down the way that my brother got shot down.
We've all seen the video. If there wasn't a video would it have been -- would we know the truth? Or would we have just gone with what was reported
earlier? But we do know the truth now.
ANDERSON: Well, there's much more on this story. Just ahead, you'll hear from a U.S. police chief who also heads the National Organization of Black
Law Enforcement Executives. That is on the International Desk with Robyn Curnow. And that is starting in less than 30 minutes from now.
Let's turn to Iraq's gains over Sunni extremists. A week ago, Iraqi forces recaptured the city of Tikrit from ISIS fighters. My colleague Arwa Damon
has discovered that many former residents are too terrified, though, to return home.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 16-year-old Hibba (ph) and her 17-year-old sister Noor (ph) were somehow spared the violence that's
torn Iraq apart since the U.S.-led invasion.
"We're not used to this," Noor (ph) says.
They are from Tikrit. Hibba (ph) constantly tries to call her girlfriends, but their phones are all off. Their father can't stop his eyes from
But they do not dare return, even if and when the government declares it safe.
"I swear, I just don't trust the situation," Rashid (ph) tells us. He's not alone.
This partially constructed building is just one of many in Baghdad's predominately Sunni neighborhood of Al-Domiya (ph), turned into makeshift
refugee housing for Sunni families that fled ISIS, most from towns not far from Tikrit.
She's saying they miss their home, they miss their land, their farm. A lot of the families who are here that we've been speaking to are from areas
that have already been liberated, but they're still too afraid to return. They're afraid of returning without government permission. They want to
see an official coming out on television assuring them that it's safe. And they're also afraid of what ISIS may have left behind.
It's not just ISIS they fear, these Sunni families are hesitant to go home. The Shia force fighting alongside Iraqi government troops terrifies them as
well. It's not a risk they're willing to take.
For eight months Alma (ph) and her family were forced to live under ISIS rule.
"It was the day after the fall of Mosul," Alma says. "Anyone who spoke against them was killed."
"It was forbidden to leave," she continues. "There was no power, no water, no gas."
They were caught in the crossfire of bullets and bombs.
"These kids, they would all hide under the staircase," Alma says of her nieces and nephews. "One time, we only ate eggs for a week."
"There were bullets that came into the house and I screamed for my father," four-year-old Riham (ph), the cheekiest of the bunch, declares.
Finally, a few months ago ISIS allowed everyone to leave.
This is their street now.
"We spent our lives there. We grew up there. And to go back and find nothing," Alma says, "it's just too much."
Unable to return and unsure who to blame.
[11:40:05] ANDERSON: And senior international corresponent Arwa Damon joining us now from Baghdad.
And your report so rightly points out that complexities on the ground, it's not just ISIS these families fear, but Shia militia fighting alongside the
Iraqi army who have now liberated this town. Can you just describe the consequences of this sort of life for the families that you've met?
DAMON: It's absolutely devastating, Becky. There's no real way to put it into words, especially given what this country has been through since the
U.S.-led invasion in 2003, not to even go back to how so many Iraqis suffered under the regime of Saddam Hussein. And that is why people are so
hesitant at this stage to even begin risking their lives and going back home, even if their various areas have been cleared.
This is something that the Iraqi government is very aware of, realizes needs to handle immediately, that it needs to reassure the Sunni population
that they can return home, that there will not be reprisal attacks.
We also spoke to some of the Shia volunteer force commanders. And they acknowledge that there are individuals amongst them, individual acts of
perhaps revenge, retaliation, with the looting and burning of homes that took place in Tikrit. But as one senior commander told us they need to
take great strides and be very aware that they do have to win over the Sunni population and make sure that they trust them and that they are their
Key in all of this in any sort of success for Iraq's future, Becky, is going to be rebuilding that sense of national unity and national trust.
ANDERSON: Meantime, Arwa, there was some good news today for one community, the Yazidi community, who had been captured -- some of whom have
been captured by ISIS last year. They've been released by the militant jihadist.
Great news for those who have been freed. What would you read into the ISIS strategy at this point?
DAMON: It's difficult to say. We don't know what sort of negotiations may or may not have taken place and what exactly motivated this particular
release of another 217 Yazidis who had been captured by ISIS back in August. They're part of a much larger group of thousands that were taken -
- kidnapped by ISIS in August when ISIS swept through the Sinjar mountains.
The images that we're seeing of these Yazidis who were just released are absolutely heartbreaking. Many of them weak, seen being comforted by the
security forces, given water. One woman seen wailing, crying for those she had to leave behind. The vast majority of these 217 who were released are
elderly children, some women amongst them, but at least 60 children, Becky, were amongst them according to Kurdish officials.
And this follows another release that took place in January of 250 Yazidis as well, most of them in that case were elderly. But there are still
thousands that remain under ISIS control, effectively held captive by this terror organization as infidels and that has gone so far as to enslave
thousands of Yazidi women.
ANDERSON: All right, Arwa Damon reporting for you from Iraq. Live from Riyadh, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. We're here all
We'll move from regional upheaval to a Saudi designer working to break barriers through fashion. That is in about 15 minutes.
First up, though, tonight, a sober scene as the first coffin leaves a Nairobi morgue nearly a week after the attack on Garissa University
College. I'm going to get you the very latest developments from Nairobi after this short break. Don't go away.
[11:46:20] ANDERSON: Well, you're back with us here on Connec the World. I just want to get you some news coming in to CNN. Al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula offering a bounty to whomever kills or captures what the group calls the two heads of evil. Now they are referring to Houthi Leader
Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi and ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Now the say the bounty offered is 20 kilograms of gold, that is about $774,000. And the offer made in a news release and a wanted poster posted
And this just speaks, if this true, to the complexities of what is going on here, because the very two that this bounty is on are clearly the same two
characters that the Saudi-led -- the Saudi-led coalition are after at present. And you can see there as we've bene discussing over this past two
week period as we get into what is this 14th day with this Saudi-led coalition that you can see the sort of blurring of lines.
The U.S. defense secretary today saying that al Qaeda is seizing the opportunity, capitalizing on what is the chaos going on in that country.
Clearly, al Qaeda not on the same side as the Saudi-led coalition, but working -- they, at least, will say towards the same endgame.
Interesting times. A sober scene as the first coffin leaves the morgue in Nairobi almost a week after the attack on Garissa University college there.
Just one victim, one of the 147 who were killed in the al Shabaab massacre.
Elsewhere, 14 people, including six connected to the Garissa attack appeared in a Nairobi court on Tuesday.
Now Kenyan authorities are now also going after al Shabaab financially. Dozens of accounts linked to the suspected terror supporters have been
Well, some children in Kenya received what is described as a western education in hopes of a brighter future, but that future is under threat as
al Shabaab tries to terrorize teachers. Christian Purefoy visited one school just a short distance from Garissa University and he filed this
CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN CORRESPONDET: We've come to a private school in Garissa that teaches western education. It's a few hundred meters away
from the university that was attacked by al Shabaab. The terrorists would have driven down that road. And yet here at the school there is supposed
to be a security guard, but he's not here at the minute.
We can't show any of their faces, but these children are studying mathematics, science and English, hoping for a brighter future.
But that future is now under threat, says James, the head master here.
JAMES NDONYE, HEADMASTES, IBNU-SIINA ACADEMY, GARISSA: These men, the so- called al Shabaab is like they want to make sure that everything goes in a negative way. They want to threatened teachers and make sure that this
area doesn't even benefit a single minute. So they want to make sure that they terrify the teachers and they go to their homes there. so to make
sure that the area, the kids in this area, they don't deserve what they require.
PUREFOY: And now the only university in Garissa has been closed indefinitely after al Shabaab massacred students in their sleep.
When we talk about an attack on eduaction in Africa. We're not just talking about in Kenya, for example, this univesity attack where 147 people
were killed. But we're also talking about Nigeria where groups where Boko Haram go into schools and just slaughter students in their beds. And that
is whether they are Christian or Muslim.
James has lost half his teachers in the last year, becuase of fears that al Shabaab will attack his school next. He's replaced them, but it has not
James, why do you stay? Why do you risk your life?
[11:50:24] NDONYE: Yeah. Of course, I'm prepared to risk my life, because for example this school there's a target that we are putting for last year.
And they have a class in (inaudible) and I love that classmate.
PUREFOY: And that's a target worth fighting for.
ANDERSON: Well, Christian Purefoy is now back in Nairobi and he joins me now live.
The government there insisting that it is doing what it can to crack down on this group. Are people convinced at this point?
PUREFOY: Well, Becky, we've had 86 banks frozen by the Kenyan authorities they say that are linked to the financing of al Shabaab. We had airstrikes
on Monday against al Shabaab camps, and you know this sort of over $200,000 reward for the man they say is behind this attack.
But, as you said, you know, are people convinced? We have protests on the streets in Nairobi, mostly by students. They don't want to see retaliation
attacks. They see that as almost too little, too late, Becky. What they want is preventative measures put in place to stop, you know, these soft
targets -- schools and universities -- being hit by al Shabaab, Becky.
ANDERSON: Christian Purefoy reporting for you.
We're in Riyadh this evening. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, changing the status quo: you're going to meet a Saudi
designer who is leading a very fasionable impression on Riyadh. That story is up next for you.
ANDERSON: Well, Saudi Arabia has been making headlines lately with its role in the conflict in neighboring Yemen, one of the reasons this show is
here this week.
But in tonight's parting shots, we want to bring you a different side of the kingdom, one that seems a bit contrary to its conservative image. I
met a Saudi fashion designer on her way to success by changing the face of women's wear in this region.
ANDERSON: You've given me of one of your habayas to try on, which is absolutely beautiful. Tell me about it.
HONAYDA SERAFI, FASHION DESIGNER: Well, I always wanted to change the face, or the thinking of the black abaya here in the Middle East or in the
Gulf. I always thought that black is a beautiful attractive color and that the color is never what is framing the woman image if she is respected or
not if she is, you know, intelligent or not.
Actually the color is never a barrier for what a woman wants to show. So a white abaya is a big success here in Saudi Arabia now. And everyone is
following the trend.
ANDERSON: It's not easy to estabish a business anywhere in the world. In Saudi, you are a woman. How big a challenge was that?
SERAFI: Well, let me tell you one thing. In (inaudible) our support is from my family, my father, my husband, my mother, like everyone was
supporting me becuase they believed that I have something ath iwant to produce and i want to show to the world that, yes, we're Saudis, we can do
like any other designers in the world. We're not different. Actually we have very similar ideas from the ideas they have.
These buttons are very authentic buttons. It has the Arabic, or Saudi, coin, you know. And old time ago they used to do it from gold and silver,
but now you know I just made it from metal. But I'm bringing all the heritage back to the modern clothes.
[11:55:08] ANDERSON: How important is that to you?
SERAFI: Well, it's very, very important just to show that we have culture, yes.
I'm not, you know, copying any other designer from you know from the European countries or, no, I'm having my culture in my designs. So this
actually will show the Saudi woman that she's very intelligent, very elegant in the same time.
ANDERSON: What do you think the biggest misconception is about Saudi from the outside?
SERAFI: Well, everyone when they know that I'm Saudi they don't believe it sometimes.
ANDERSON: Why do ou think that is?
SERAFI: First, they always -- there is a stereotype about the Saudi woman or the Saudi people in general that they are very conservative. Yes, we
are conservative in our way, but it doesn't mean that we're not intellectual, we're not following the world or we're not following the news
wherever it is. We're very independent.
I wanted to show that, yeah, we're open-minded. Yeah, we're never -- we shouldn't hide our faces behind, you know, a black cover or anything. So
actually putting my mother's face on the fabric.
ANDERSON: That's amazing, mom's face on the fabric.
SERAFI: Exactly, but in like I have worked on it. I mean, there's some artwork on it. And I'm doing it on dresses, on capes, on pants, but in
different ways, of course, in different sizes.
It takes such power from a woman to put her foot in the business here in Saudi Arabia or anywhere in the world. And to show taht she is series
about her business. You know, I've ben traveling all over. I went to Beirut, to Turkey, to New York, to Paris to establish a business that can
go on for the -- you know, for generations.
ANDERSON: A snapshot from Riyadh for you this evening.
We're live from the Saudi capital all this week. So let us know what you think of any of the stories that we've been covering. What you'd like to
see from this part of the world. YOu can watch all of our reports and eneitites on the Facebook page, which is Facebook.com/CNNConnect. And you
can tweet me @BeckyCNN. Let me know what you think.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.