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Connect the World

RSF says it Agrees to new Truce, Waiting on Army's Response; Intense new Battles in Ukraine; Kyiv: Russia's Bakhmut Losses Several Times Higher than ours; Humanitarian Truce Collapses as Conditions Worsen; Afghans Describe Torture and Brutality since Takeover; Ceremony Marks 80 Years since Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 19, 2023 - 11:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNNI HOST: Sudan's paramilitary rapid support forces said it has agreed on a 24-hour ceasefire starting in about an hour's time the

country's army however, has not commented as yet. Will it hold we explore this hour.

But first Ukraine experiencing a new barrage of attacks from the skies Kyiv says Russia launched 60 airstrikes over a 24 hour period with Bakhmut still

the epicenter of the fighting. One serviceman says the city is now in tatters.

Japan plans to release more than 1 million tons of treated wastewater from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants into the sea and despite concerns from

some. The government promises it is safe. India is poised to overtake China as the world's most populous country according to a UN report. It will have

3 million more people than China by the middle of this year, both nations combined will account for more than a third of the global population.

Welcome to the second hour of "Connect the World"! Half of the hospitals in Sudan's capital are out of action as a result of the recent fighting. That

is, according to "Doctors without Borders", most of the organization's programs across the country have been suspended and that is along with 250

other humanitarian programs.

So tonight, we ask how will much needed aid make it into Sudan? Abdullah Hussein joins us now live from Nairobi, Kenya. He's the "Doctors without

Borders" Operational Manager for South Sudan, Somalia, as well as Liberia. Sir, great to have you on the show! I want you to give me a sense of the

challenges that you and your team are experiencing on the ground right now?

ABDALLA HUSSEIN, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES: Thank you, thank you for having me. Well, the challenges that we face is more or less the same as what the

rest of the civilians are facing in Sudan. Today after intense fighting in the last four days, still, there is no lead up to the violence.

We have violence going on in Khartoum, we have several part areas where we work in the country like the Darfur or North Darfur where there is still

violence going on. We continue to receive civilians that were affected by the by the conflict. In some other locations, we had a conflict impact on

our operations and our ability to continue operations and our operations were to be suspended.

GIOKOS: Look, we're hearing about lack of electricity running out of water running out of food, inability to move around. What does that mean

logistically for your team that is trying to assist, and of course, engage in humanitarian work on the ground without the ability to truly move around


HUSSEIN: Well, there is a different level of the challenge of logistics that we face. For example, we have a project that supports in the Ministry

of Health in -- town in North Darfur, for example. This is was a maternity hospital that we were trying to help with the maternal health in the area.

But when the fighting happened, we have been receiving in the last days wounded over 200 at this moment, and this wounded, we have to repurpose the

hospital because the rest of the other hospitals there are three of other hospitals in -- had to shut down.

We have to cope with the need of the population, not only the wounded, but the general health needs of the population. And that means the supplies

that we have there are diminishing. And for us to support the project, even that supply that we have within -- to reach the hospital is very difficult

to let alone bring the surprise from Khartoum which is the --?

GIOKOS: Abdalla are you able to move supplies to various hospitals depending on the need? As you say you're not dealing with 200 wounded right

now? And are you concerned that there are a lot more wounded, that you aren't able to access aren't able to come and get assistance from you?

HUSSEIN: For instance the hospitals in -- we were able to supply it after several hours of that we were not able to reach the hospital. Finally we

were able to supply yesterday and reorganize and expand the hospital. However in Khartoum, it's very difficult.

Our teams in Khartoum were not able to move and they were trapped like the rest of the population. We were in contact with the Minister of Health, the

other hospitals to know the needs and which hospitals are affected. But for us to go there it was very difficult.


To give you an example we had -- of hospitals call in MSF to ask for support. But it was very difficult neither the hospital staff nor MSF staff

to move, but we do have the supplies in our pharmacies. So the situation is vital--

GIOKOS: Look, there's major concern about whether all the hospitals are operational? What will be needed going forward? We've just heard the RSF

requesting for a 24-hour ceasefire, we still haven't heard back from the military, whether they will engage in that? What kind of windows

opportunities are there to ensure that you've got hospitals maintaining operational status?

HUSSEIN: I think that it is positive news for whatever proposal of the let off of the violence in Sudan. So I don't know how long it will hold, I

really hope that he does, how long. But today, what the hospitals need is medical supplies, they need the staff to be able to move and assist and

take their shifts.

They do need fuel for generators of the hospitals to run. They need a water supply. And those are the things that are at stake at the moment. We also

are calling for the hospitals and medical facilities to be respected because during the violence that was hospitals that were directly preceding

the impact of the violence.

GIOKOS: From what you understand all the hospitals have access to electricity and water right now?

HUSSEIN: No, there are some parts of the hospitals that were closed due to lack of fuel and water.

GIOKOS: Yes. In terms of the intensity of fighting, you know, we know that Khartoum is hard hit. What about Darfur? What about other regions? Where

are you most concerned at this stage?

HUSSEIN: The whole Darfur area was really the worst violence -- of course, they differed from one place to another. But for example, in North Darfur

we do have the continuation of the violence for the fourth day. And it didn't stop, of course, certain hours of the day we had to take the window

you know, to supply the hospital.

Our teams to move but it are very risky. It's very risky. And but yes, it's still it continues in -- we had the fighting. And in fact, we had one of

our premises totally looted, and we had to suspend operations in that region of South Darfur.

GIOKOS: In South Darfur one of your operations were looted, as you say. Here's the question, because we've also heard we've heard from President

Kenyan President William Ruto saying that the attacks on diplomats on aid workers as well as civilians are atrocities against humanity. Have your

people have your workers being attacked? Are you concerned for their safety?

HUSSEIN: We are very concerned for the safety of our staff. As I said, in different places in Sudan today, we have our staff that are -- there were

funding the programs we had before this crisis started.

It's stuck in the areas that we are not able to move staff between locations within the same location, we can try, depending on the let up of

the violence to reach the location of the hospitals, but we are not able to move between locations.

And that means you really incapacitated the humanitarian assistance to the population, which is very critical at this moment. And specifically, we

need surgical capacities to bring to deal with the wounded that are -- result of this violence. And it's not enough in, for example, in -- that I

talked about, the supplies we have will not hold for very long.

GIOKOS: Abdalla, you know, we are hoping there's going to be a truce or some kind of ceasefire and negotiations and the two generals getting across

the table and having discussions. If this continues for much longer what does that mean from a humanitarian perspective?

HUSSEIN: Well, what it means is that we will be having a loss -- a lot of loss of life. That's what's at stake at the moment. We already had, for

example, the hospital in -- 34 people who died they were civilians that were wounded. They arrived to the hospital because of delay.

We already lost 34 in that hospital and many more deaths in Sudan at the moment. This is state estimate because people are stuck in the community.

They are not going to the hospital. So the count is much estimated, but I can tell you in the hospital in -- we already had a loss of life and not

stopping the violence that's what this will be at stake.

GIOKOS: Abdalla Hussein thank you very much for that update. I know you and your team are hard at work on the ground and we wish you strength and all

the best. Thank you. Alright, so we're waiting for a response from Sudan's military after the paramilitary rapid support forces announced it has

agreed to a new 24-hour ceasefire.


It would start in less than an hour from now, the RSF announcement comes after the collapse of an earlier temporary truce. Both sides are accusing

the other of violating that agreement for terrified civilians. The nightmare continues as food, water and electricity are running out.

Larry Madowo is back with us this hour from Nairobi. Larry, thank you so much for joining us. We've just heard from Abdalla Hussein, who's giving us

a sense of what's going on in hospitals. What's going on from a humanitarian perspective, the inability to move aid around in some of the

hard hits areas, all while we're waiting for two generals to make a decision on a ceasefire that will hopefully hold?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have about 15 minutes until this ceasefire is supposed to start. We only have one side saying they have

agreed to it. This powerful paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces, and its General Hamdan Dagalo or Hemetti as he is known who said

there are now open to 24-hour ceasefire.

50 minutes before supposed to begin. We still haven't heard from the military from General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan if they will agree to it.

Remember, we should have just been ending a 24 hour ceasefire that didn't work out because both sides accused the other of violating it.

But Abdalla is absolutely right, from "Doctors without Borders" two other aid agencies, multiple others actually have all said the same thing. We

just had a statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross, saying that the health system in Sudan is at risk of collapse unless there

is urgent humanitarian access.

So that health workers can get to hospitals and treat people so that the water and power lines can be replaced. They can be fixed because they've

been bombed in certain cases. And this targeting of civilians these attacks against hotels and hospitals in places where our vital public institutions

is something that the Kenyan President William Ruto has been talking about, and its importance in extending the suffering of so many Sudanese people,



WILLIAM RUTO, KENYAN PRESIDENT: Kenya notes that disregard for the resolutions coupled with the evidence of lack of commitment to ending the

conflict strongly indicates that attacks on diplomatic installations and personnel, as well as targeting of hospitals, hotels and other vital public

and social spaces are deliberate, systematic, and tantamount to atrocities against humanity.


MADOWO: President Ruto says the extended fighting in Sudan threatens regional stability. The resolutions he refers to are the resolution that

was passed over the weekend by the regional body the Intergovernmental Authority on Development that called for a cessation of hostilities and a

return to the dialogue Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. I mean, Larry, and frankly, the words from the Presidents were harsh, right? And he's talking about systematic violation of human rights

and international laws, which I guess is pretty rare to hear from another African leader towards an African country. I want you to give me a sense of

the power that African leaders yield right now in the ability to get these generals to talk.

MADOWO: Eleni, we were talking about this a few days ago how African leaders under the African Union like to talk about African solutions for

African problems? They're trying in this case, to their credit; the African Union Commission Chairperson said he will be going to Khartoum as soon as

possible still hasn't happened.

And the regional body EGAD where which elected President Ruto of Kenya, and the President of South Sudan -- to go and talk to General Burhan and

General Hemetti. They still haven't been able to come in as well.

And if I can pass what President Ruto was essentially saying there. He says it looks like an admission that so far the overtures they reach out to

these two gentlemen hasn't worked out. They're really trying and saying, listen, we in the region, want the best for you.

We want to make sure that you can talk and agree on how do you merge the rapid support forces and the Sudanese military into one body? And how do

you recommit yourself to that agreed upon timeline to return to civilian rule in Sudan, and it doesn't seem to work so far.

In fact, if you hear these statements that come every few hours from the RSF and the SAF, these are fighting words. These are men who are ready and

willing to talk and stop the violence and find a way out of this rut.

GIOKOS: And I guess this is why it's important President Ruto reminding the two generals of what impact that's having on the ground and what this

bigger picture is here? Larry Madowo great to have you on the story thank you!

Well just ahead on "Connect the World', some observers are saying the big lie came at a big price for FOX News next, the network's historic power to

make a damaging lawsuit go away. And bombardments and battle cries the latest from Ukraine which says Russia's losses in a key city would be far

worse than Kyiv's.



GIOKOS: FOX News will pay close to $800 million to Dominion voting systems ending an explosive defamation case brought against the right wing network.

Dominion says FOX destroyed its reputation by knowingly airing lies that the company rigged the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

FOX News is now facing other legal battles, including a lawsuit from another voting tech company Smartmatic. It's seeking nearly $3 billion in

damages. And I want to bring in CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig, who's live for us from New York.

It is an eye watering number, almost $800 million. But more lawsuits far bigger price tag that FOX News is paying and perhaps setting a precedent by

settling out of court take us through what is next here for FOX?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So this is first of all, an astonishing number for a settlement. It's actually record breaking in a

sense it's the largest reported settlement in a defamation case that we've ever had, that we know of if you look at some of the prior defamation

settlements that have made headlines.

They've been at a maximum of 200 million or so. This is several multiples of that. So there is real accountability there. Now, as you said, FOX News

is not done yet, because they've also been sued by another voting technology company called Smartmatic, which is claiming more in damages

than Dominion did.

But those claims by plaintiffs have to be heavily discounted because they're really one sided claims. But yes, FOX has settled with Dominion and

I can guarantee you this Smartmatic lawyers are getting ready to demand a large settlement of their own.

GIOKOS: Yes. Look, one thing that FOX News did not give Dominion is an apology or admission of guilt. We didn't hear anything of those sorts. It

feels like it's not over yet, there's a lot more to come.

HONIG: I think that's right. And you know, a lot of people have noticed correctly that FOX did not issue an apology or a retraction. And that was

apparently not part of any negotiated settlement. But I think we need to be practical in what we think about how would that have actually happened?

Because if Dominion had insisted on taking this case, all the way to trial as was their right, and even if they had gotten a jury verdict in their

favor, Dominion, that doesn't come with an apology attached. So it's really left to Dominion to negotiate for an apology or retraction by FOX News.

But let's remember, Dominion is not here to vindicate journalistic standards. Dominion is a corporation. It's a smallish Corporation, it's

privately owned, and they have about 250 employees. And so Dominion's job here is not to vindicate all that's right or wrong in the world.

Dominion's job is to take care of Dominion. They certainly did that. But they also showed us important evidence throughout this case that really

casts FOX lies in stark contrast, I think.

GIOKOS: It does indeed. I mean, it's -- Dominion says that FOX destroyed its reputation by knowingly airing the lies.


And this is where, you know, there's the huge conversations that are happening around this. And then the other big question becomes, you know,

can FOX afford this type of pay-out and also afford that what's coming next in terms of you know more lawsuits from Smartmatic.

HONIG: So, the reality is these pay-outs are not going to put Fox out of business; they're not going to bankrupt FOX. But these are substantial

financial hits based on the paperwork, it appears FOX makes about $2 billion in profits per year, this pay-out just to one of the companies was

787.5 million.

So, you're talking about in one fell swoop losing somewhere between 1one third and one half of their annual profits. That's a big deal. They will

feel that at FOX, they will feel that at the very top levels of FOX, that's not throwaway change by any measure.

GIOKOS: Elie Honig, thank you very much for breaking that down for us.

HONIG: Thanks very much all right.

GIOKOS: Well, let's update you now on developments from Ukraine over the past few hours. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is continuing his tour of key

regions of the country after this visit to Donetsk. Mr. Zelenskyy surveyed defense preparations in Ukraine's Northwest, where the borders of Ukraine

Poland and Belarus meet.

This, as Kyiv is claiming Russia's losses in Bakhmut could be several times higher than its own. Kyiv said Russia launch 60 airstrikes on the city of a

24-hour period. Let's get an update from the frontline. We got Ben Wedeman in eastern Ukraine for us. President Zelenskyy continuing his term, all the

while Russia is continuing. I mean, I'm going to mention this number again, 60 strikes on Bakhmut over a 24-hour period.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's quite a lot. That's a dramatic uptick of what we've seen over the last few months

in terms of airstrikes. In fact, we were in the Bakhmut area yesterday with Ukrainian air defense units. And what we saw is that they are using

weaponry that dates back to the 1970s.

And yet again, we heard from them that they have to be very careful with their use of ammunition, because they don't necessarily have what's needed

given the ferocity of the battle in Bakhmut, where we heard from the Ukrainian deputy defense minister saying that the Russians are making small

advances within the town.

How much of Bakhmut the Ukrainian still, control is not clear, but it can't be more than 25 or 30 percent of Bakhmut at this point. Now, Ukrainians did

announce that today that some Spanish supplied Leopard tanks will be deployed at the front by the end of this month, where on the front is not

clear, there's much talk and anticipation about the Ukrainian counter offensive.

But we also heard from the defense, deputy defense minister today saying that they're not going to announce the timeline for the offensive, not

surprisingly so. But that the goal of that offensive will be to liberate all those territories currently under Russian control, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. And we know that the spring offensive is coming. And as you say, we just don't have timelines. It was interesting to see that, you

know, Kyiv is saying that Russia's loss in Bakhmut is going to be far greater than its own. Take us through the statements.

WEDEMAN: Well, this is something we've heard for quite some time for the Ukrainians that one of the reasons why they're putting so many resources

into the defense of this city that isn't necessarily a great strategic importance, is that in the process, they're grinding down Russian forces.

That's the Ukrainian narrative. But it's not altogether clear what the Ukrainian casualties are at this point.

Clearly, they are also losing a lot of men and material. But the Russians also are determined to take the city because let's keep in mind that now

for several months, they've been conducting their winter offensive and they really don't have much to show for it. They did in January take the town

nearby of Soledar. But that was a fairly small victory.

But if they conclude this offensive without even taking Bakhmut, which has been the scene of intense fighting for months, it speaks volumes about the

capabilities of the Russian military, Eleni.


GIOKOS: All right, Ben Wedeman, thank you. Well, an investigation has found that Russia has a fleet of suspected spy ships operating in Nordic waters

joined research by the public broadcasters of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland suggests the ships are part of the program that could be used for

potential sabotage.

In one case, an armed man appeared on the deck of a ship when Danish journalist approached. The investigation said the Russian ships have been

sailing past military training areas, important oil and gas fields and have even been following NATO exercises. Russia's foreign minister is in Cuba as

part of the Latin American tour.

Tuesday he was in Venezuela meeting with President Nicolas Maduro where Sergey Lavrov offered support and called for the lifting of U.S. sanctions.

His trip to Havana comes at a time when Cuba is re-electing its leader for a second term. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has the story.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For decades, it was a question that obsessed policymakers from Washington to Moscow, who would

succeed the Castro's once they left power in Cuba. Only in 2013 did Raul Castro and the speculation by announcing Miguel Diaz-Canel, as First Vice

President and his heir apparent. Comrade Diaz-Canel isn't an upstart or an improvisation he says, his trajectory has lasted nearly 30 years.

An engineer by training and a long-time Communist Party bureaucrat, Diaz- Canel in 2018 became President of Cuba, the first Head of state on the islands since the revolution, not named Castro. But his tenure has been

marked by nearly every calamity imaginable.

A month after Diaz-Canel took office, Cuba suffered one of the island's worst aviation disasters when a plane operated by the state airline

crashed, killing 112 people aboard. U.S. economic sanctions, many of which were lifted under the Obama Administration were renewed with a vengeance by

then President Donald Trump.

Generous shipments of oil from socialist ally, Venezuela have waned as that country grapples with its own economic meltdown. The pandemic shuttered

Cuba's tourism industry, for the worsening already widespread shortages of food and medicines. Then on July 11, 2021, thousands of Cubans took to the

streets in the largest anti-government demonstrations since the revolution.

Within hours Diaz-Canel went on state TV to order those faithful to the government to attack the protesters. The order to combat has been given he

said, the streets belong to the revolutionaries. The crackdown on protesters led to more economic sanctions from the Biden Administration,

which may only further unify the communist run government.

On Wednesday, Cuba's National Assembly will meet and is widely expected to approve a second five-year term as president for Diaz-Canel.

CARLOS ALZUGARAY, FORMER CUBAN DIPLOMAT: This is a city of the siege. This is a country under siege. And there are many ways in which Americans would

look at this, rally around the flag, circle the wagons, so the Cuban government is very good at doing that.

OPPMANN (voice over): Diaz-Canel has repeatedly promised at better times are closet here. But as Cubans leave the island in record numbers,

inflation makes food increasingly unaffordable, and a worsening energy crisis forces people to wait for days to fill up their cars. The question

many people have here is when. Patrick Oppmann, CNN Havana.


GIOKOS: Well, coming up on "Connect the World" as violence and grips Sudan will look at the capabilities of the two opposing sides with a leading

military analyst. Plus, the Taliban's decision to exclude woman is set to cost Afghanistan heavily. Look at the country's worsening economic crisis

that is all coming up on "Connect the World".



GIOKOS: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos, your headlines this hour. An explosive defamation case ends with FOX News paying

nearly $800 million to Dominion voting systems. It is the biggest publicly known defamation settlement by a U.S. media outlet. Dominion says Fox

destroyed its reputation by deliberately airing lies of the company rigged the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Ukraine's President is continuing his tour of key regions of the country after this visit to Donetsk. President Zelenskyy survey defense

preparations in Ukraine's northwest where the borders of Ukraine, Poland and Belarus meet. It comes as Ukraine has faced a new barrage of assaults

in the embattled city of Bakhmut.

India is set to overtake China as the most populated country by mid-2023. That is according to a U.N. report which says the sub continents population

will soon top 1.4 -- to eight, 6 billion people. The U.N. has not been able to specify a date due to uncertainty about the data coming from China and


Now more than a dozen embassies in Sudan are calling for an immediate end to the fighting there as we wait to hear from the army on the

paramilitaries latest ceasefire offer. Residents of Khartoum are enduring another day of explosions and gunfire after a previous ceasefire collapsed.

The World Health Organization reports at least 296 people killed and 3000 people injured. International governments are planning evacuations. I want

to dig in deeper into this and the military capabilities of both sides which Cameron Hudson will be able to help us with. He is a Senior Associate

at the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cameron, great to have you with us! I want you to talk to me about the military capabilities of these two sides. And we will delve into, you know

the request from what the RSF were cease fired. But let's talk about the military capabilities that we're looking at right now.

CAMERON HUDSON, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CSIS: OK, well, on one side you have the Sudan armed forces the national army of the country. It's a conventional

fighting force. It has an air force with fighter jets. It has heavy armor, heavy artillery, not known for being particularly nimble, but certainly a

very potent fighting force.

You know, it is headquartered in the downtown area of Khartoum, which is why we're seeing so much fighting down there by the Capitol right now.

Pitted against the rapid support forces, they emerged from as a successor movement to the Janjaweed era of a militia, which carried out scorched

earth tactics in Darfur for many years.

They're known for being a much lighter, you know, less heavy armor, very mobile and nimble fighting force, using, you know, sort of guerrilla like

tactics, mostly, though, in the peripheral areas, the rural areas of the country.

So, again, not accustomed to urban warfare, and so having a very difficult time I think right now, you know, being bombarded by the Sudanese air force

and pinned down in many locations of the city, but also able to move around. So, it's really a kind of evenly matched contest right now,

although they both have very different capabilities.


GIOKOS: Yes. Look, we've coming out of a failed ceasefire agreement, right. And now the RSF saying, we're willing to get into another ceasefire. We

haven't heard officially, from the military group, as yet whether they would commit to this. Do you think it is possible right now, given that

this is a power struggle? So, both sides have skin in the game here.

HUDSON: Yes, well, I mean, it's more than a power struggle, it's an existential threat, they both see the other as bent on their own

destruction. And therefore, they can't survive politically, economically, or physically, frankly, without the disruption of the opponent. And so, I

think that creates very little opportunity for mediation or even for ceasefire.

Right now, I think the RSF, from the reports that we're hearing are perhaps running low on ammunition. Their stronghold is in Darfur, they are forward

deployed into the Capitol right now. So maybe struggling with some ammunition, I think, given that they're probably more inclined to try to

have a ceasefire, at least temporarily, to try to resupply themselves. You know, conversely, the Sudan armed forces, if they're on the front foot,

they might not want to engage in ceasefire talks at this time.

GIOKOS: I mean, you're speaking as if, and I fear this because maybe this is the undertone of what you're trying to say. It sounds to me that you're

anticipating this is going to be an ongoing matter. This is despite the fact that we've seen so many African leaders been very vocal about the

need, and the want to get these two leaders, his two generals to talk.

HUDSON: Well, I am rather pessimistic on that score, primarily because I think this fight has been coming for a long time. These are two forces

which have very different cultures. You know, one is a militia force that was hired off as a mercenary army. The other is a professional army; they

see themselves as a professional army, even though they've committed scores of human rights abuses, over the decade in the country.

But they are properly trained; they've been trained by the Egyptian military. And they sort of have a proud tradition of trying to defend

Sudan's constitution. And so, I think that these forces represent really diametrically opposed visions of the country. And so, I don't see how it's

going to be very easy to get them to negotiate.

The reason they're fighting now is because they could not agree on a security sector reform program that would have seen the creation of one

unitary national army that would be subservient to civilian leaders.

GIOKOS: Look, Hemetti, RSF's Hemetti is said to be one of the richest man, men in Sudan. And what do we know about revenue streams right now funding

both sides?

HUDSON: Well, I think one of the reasons why the RSF is as powerful as it is, is because of Hemetti's revenue stream, mostly from gold mining

operations in the north of the country and in Darfur. Again, he was a, he sold the RSF as a mercenary army, and made fabulous wealth as a result of

that in Yemen and Libya, working for Gulf States.

So, he has used that money to arm himself very heavily, and to recruit very heavily with, you know, arguably more than 100,000 troops right now. So,

his revenue stream is certainly contributing to this, but we can't forget the Sudan Armed Forces, the military owns, you know, half of the economy.

They you know dug in to military and non-military commercial operations alike.

So, they have an independent revenue stream as well, they don't rely on any kind of national treasury. And there, of course, getting assistance from

outside actors right now, whether it's Egypt, or the United Arab Emirates, or neighboring states. I think very quickly, we're going to see this

devolve into a much more regional configuration, if we can't get the parties to begin talking very soon.

GIOKOS: An external interference, it sounds. Look, Cameron Hudson, thank you so much for your insights. I'm sure we'll be speaking over the next few

days as we; of course wait to hear on whether the RSF's call for a ceasefire will be agreed upon by the other side. Thank you very much for

your time.

All right, well, still to come, Afghans describe a return to torture and other brutal treatments since the Taliban takeover. We will hear from one

man who says, he didn't think he'd survive what the Taliban did to him.



GIOKOS: The U.S. government's Afghanistan watchdog is expected to warn of a lack of visibility regarding how the U.S. is spending billions of dollars

following the withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as whether the Taliban may be diverting some of that aid for its own purposes. Testimony on that

is happening today before a U.S. House committee.

Meantime, the Taliban's decision to remove woman from public view is set to cost Afghanistan with a new U.N. report predicting international aid will

fall dramatically this year, worsening an already catastrophic economic crisis. The U.N.'s Development Agency says if international aid falls by 30

percent Afghanistan's GDP would contract by 0.4 percent.

And so far, the humanitarian aid plan is only 5 percent funded for this year. Per capita, annual incomes could fall to just over $300 next year,

which would mark a 40 percent drop since a year before the Taliban takeover. The U.N. warns there will be no escape from poverty without women

in the workplace.


ABDALLAH AL DARDARI, U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME: The engagement continues. We speak to them every day. And we present the numbers that we are

presenting to them, showing how detrimental the absence of women in public life, education and work is to the future of the Afghan economy. But at the

moment we don't see any positive response.


GIOKOS: Well, women's rights are among the many policies the Taliban have dismantled since taking power. And ordinary Afghans are describing a range

of brutalities committed by those in authorities. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has more.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He was tortured by the Taliban, he says, just for reporting the truth. I was thinking of death

every moment. I thought this is the last day of my life, he says. Last December, 30 Taliban fighters stormed journalist Zabihullah Noori, he's

home in the Afghan City of Taleqan. The men beat him over and over with the butt of their rifles then arrested him, allegedly for publishing anti-

Taliban propaganda.

I told them I'm a journalist. I report the truth, whether that's against the Taliban or anyone else, but they wouldn't stop, he says. They said call

your mother so she can hear you scream. As the Taliban seize control in the summer of 2021, thousands of terrified families flocked to the Kabul

airport, desperate to escape what they knew of the group's barbaric rule.

But the Taliban vowed reform pledging to be more progressive than their last time in power. Instead, the group quickly fell back on its old

playbook, ruled by fear, repress without mercy. The group ordered judges to fully impose its extremist interpretation of Islamic law that includes

public executions, floggings and amputations.


And in December, it carried out the first known public execution. An alleged murder was shot three times in a public square. And over the course

of just two months, the Taliban carried out floggings against more than 180 men, women and children according to the U.N.

Like this one, the secretly recorded video shows a Taliban militant flogging a man in a football stadium. Other accused criminals await their

punishment with onlookers in the stands. And any perceived dissent against their rule is met with brutality. -- agreed to speak to CNN on condition of


He was imprisoned by the group for allegedly joining an anti-Taliban military alliance, a charge he denies. They shoved a water pipe down my

throat, they tied a bag around my head, he says. They sat on my belly and ordered me to confess that I'm a member of the resistance forces.

After four months of torture, in detention, -- was released, he now lives in hiding. His repeated attempts to flee Afghanistan have failed. Countless

Afghans have attempted the same risking their lives to find safety away from their brutalized homeland, a perilous journey that has claimed many


Like that of Afghan female journalist Torpekai Amarkhel, she was among more than 60 migrants who drowned at sea when their ship sank off the coast of

Italy. Fortunately, Noori has made it out alive with his family after his release. Now a refugee in Pakistan, he still lives in fear.

I'm not safe in Pakistan; he says anything can happen here, anything. But those left behind remain hopeful that the international community will hear

their pleas even if raising their voice means risking their lives. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


GIOKOS: Well, CNN has reached out to the Taliban for a response on the claims of detention and torture, but has not received a response. We have

additional reporting on the story on our website, and you can find it by going to and doing a search for either Afghanistan or the Taliban.

And still ahead, we'll show you how Poland is marking the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. That's coming up right after this.


GIOKOS: Poland is remembering thousands of Jewish lives lost in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 80 years ago. Jews led a revolt on the state in 1943

choosing to fight instead of getting sent to Nazi death camps. It was the largest single act of Jewish resistance against the Nazis during World War


The Polish Israeli and German presidents attended today's ceremony. Germany's President asked for forgiveness for crimes committed by his

country during the war. CNN's Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer both attended the remembrance ceremony. They each have a personal connection to the

Holocaust. Here are their reflections.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: For me and I'll start Dana. For me it's very, very personal because all four of my grandparents were murdered during the

Holocaust. And yesterday, we were over at the Auschwitz Birkenau death camp.

And both of us actually saw some of the gas chambers, the crematorium where my two of my grandparents, my father's parents were actually murdered. And

it was just very, very emotional, very personal, very powerful. And I'm glad that today, you're at the Polian Museum, which is dedicated to the

thousand-year history of Polish Jews.

They're going to have the ceremony marking, as you point out, Christine, the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. They will be very

emotional, the president of Poland, the president of Germany, the president of Israel, all will be here to mark this very, very special occasion.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: And Christine, the key here is that it's been 80 years. And that, as Wolf said, there is still a very intentional

commemoration of this. And that it's not just Jews coming here it is, the heads of state from the countries that were affected Poland, and who was

the perpetrator, Germany, I mean, that says a lot. And the fact that you have so few Jews left here, because two and a half million, I believe were


Two and a half Polish Jews, including most of Wolf's Polish family were murdered here. There are so few Jews, who are currently living here, and

yet, you're seeing and you're going to see this with the ceremony later today. People walking around, absolutely no personal connection to Judaism

but walking around with these and these are daffodils and the daffodils are symbols of, of hope, and of rebirth.

And this comes from the time of the Warsaw Ghetto. And they wear it like this, which is also intentional, as a sign in a memory of what Jews had to

do during Nazi occupation, which is where Jewish star on their body either on their repel or on their arm.

And so, it is important, everybody here understands and really around the world important to remember. So that this saying that we have never again

actually lives out, especially at a time with anti-Semitism on the rise, not just here, but even more so in the United States.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Dana, I know you, I saw you posted some pictures; you and your brother are there. Talk to me a

little bit about sort of what it feels like to be there and to be such an important part of remembering that history.

BASH: I mean, it's beyond emotional and I didn't really know how I was going to take it all in. And I'm still not really sure. And it'll take me a

while to process it. But you're right. My brother and I are the great grandchildren of people who were murdered at Auschwitz Birkenau. And like

Wolf said, we actually went into the gas chamber that still exists where his grandparents were likely killed.

And we saw at Birkenau, our great grandparents were Hungarian. So, they were taken there pretty late in the war in 1944. And we learned that they

were probably likely taken straight to the gas chamber and then the crematorium. They also have a cattle car, part of the trains that were used

to bring all of the Jews in there.

And just seeing all of that being on the ground, where our great grandparents walked to their, to their death was really, really sorry, it's

hard. I'm getting a little emotional now, it was really overwhelming. It was really overwhelming.

BLITZER: And what was so powerful and I'm sure you agree yesterday was what they call the march of the living, where tens of thousands of people,

especially young people from not just here in Poland, but from countries all over the world.

They've come here to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, to remember to honor all those people who were murdered during the Holocaust and to see all

these young people here. And they're so, so dedicated to making sure that we never forget. It was really an emotional powerful experience, I think

for both of us.

BASH: It wasn't one thing I forgot to add and that is that these are being as we're talking to you behind our camera, poles are walking by and they're

all wearing these 450,000 of these have been given out all over Warsaw. Why 450,000? Because the Warsaw Ghetto which is where we're standing, the

former Warsaw Ghetto was leveled in 1943.


But at its height, the Nazis put 450,000 Jews behind walls around where we're standing now before they eventually murdered most of them.

BLITZER: And this pole in Museum, which is dedicated to the thousand-year history of Polish Jewry of Polish Jews, is right on the grounds of where

the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was. And that makes it extremely, extremely special. And later today, we're going to be, I think it's the last

remaining synagogue in Poland.

BASH: It is.

BLITZER: And as you point out, Christine, before World War Two, there were 3 million Polish Jews. Today, a few thousand live in Poland. And that's

about it. It's part of the history of the Polish Jewish community.

GIOKOS: Alright, big thanks to Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash for sharing those personal stories with us. And thank you very much for joining us, for

"Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. CNN will continue right after the short break.