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Your World Today

Devastating Bombings in Baghdad; Chilling Messages From a Killer; Presidential Race in France; Campaign Season in Nigeria

Aired April 19, 2007 - 12:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Terrorists killed us. They slaughtered us. What did we do?


STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: More anguish in Baghdad. Iraqis voicing their anger at the government and at the security plan after another deadly bombing in the capital city.

RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: No place to hide. Retracing the footsteps of the Virginia Tech shooter, who has left behind photographs, videos and words full of venom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a defining moment in my son's life. I want the defining moment to be something positive.


FRAZIER: Positive, and stories of survival, too. The mother of the last person shot by the killer talks about her son's ordeal.

VASSILEVA: And will French voters say oui or non to this presidential candidate? Francois Bayrou has a low-key approach to politics.

FRAZIER: It's 8:00 p.m. in Baghdad. It is noon now in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Hello, everyone. And welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.

I'm Stephen Frazier.

VASSILEVA: And I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.

From Paris to Washington, wherever you are watching us from, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

FRAZIER: We are off to Iraq first, where the U.S. secretary of defense is delivering a personal message to Iraqi leaders one day after Baghdad saw some of the deadliest attacks since the war began. VASSILEVA: Robert Gates is on an unannounced visit to warn that the U.S. military commitment is not open-ended as Americans lose patience with the war.

FRAZIER: This comes amid growing worries among senior U.S. commanders about just how difficult it is to stop these al Qaeda-style attacks that are becoming so common in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Gates flew into Baghdad from Israel, where he was talking about efforts to stabilize Iraq. He says he's going to encourage Iraqi leaders to make faster progress toward political reconciliation. And he has a very busy schedule today, meeting with Iraqi officials, as well as with the senior U.S. commanders. He flew by helicopter to Falluja just after her touched down.

VASSILEVA: Grieving families in Baghdad, meantime, are burying loved ones killed in a devastating string of bombings. Nearly 200 people died in Wednesday's attacks that targeted mostly Shiite areas. Angry residents are accusing the government of failing to protect them.

Let's get more now from Arwa Damon in Baghdad -- Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ralitsa, well, as you just mentioned, today has been a day of sorrow in the Iraqi capital as many are burying the dead from yesterday's utterly tragic attacks. But it is also a day where many Iraqis are really expressing their anger, and that is anger directed towards the Iraqi government, towards the Iraqi security forces, and towards the American forces and what they are calling the occupation in general for failing to protect them.

Many Iraqis are looking at yesterday's violence as just another example not only of their government's weakness, but of the reality with which they have been living for quite some time now. And that is the violence, and that is the insurgency really making its marks on the streets of the capital not just yesterday, but attacks that followed into today.

Even today there was a suicide bombing, also in central Baghdad. And that attack killed at least 12 Iraqis.

One question we are hearing repeatedly, one that we have been hearing for quite some time now, is what is the Iraqi government truly going to do, what can they do, if anything? And if the Iraqi government cannot provide those answers, the concern is that the Iraqi people will look to other groups, the militias, the insurgency to keep them safe -- Ralitsa.

VASSILEVA: And so how are Iraqis coping with the situation? Just, the violence keeps getting worse, 200 people dead. How are they coping with all of this?

DAMON: Well, Ralitsa, it's so incredibly difficult to describe really the tragedy that unfolded here yesterday, the tragedies that are really unfolding here on a regular basis, and how Iraqis are able to cope with that. There is such sorrow and such anger and anguish that you see speaking to the people, and there also comes with that a certain sense of helplessness.

But one thing that is part of the current Baghdad security plan that the U.S. is pushing for is this notion of gated communities. And the Americans are saying that as of now, there are three working gated communities intended to keep the isolated populations within the capital safe. And we actually took a tour of one of them.


DAMON (voice over): Welcome to Amiriyah, in southwest Baghdad. This is one of two checkpoints into the gated community where Iraqi Army Sergeant Major Ali Hassan is in charge.

SGT. MAJ. ALI HASSAN, IRAQI ARMY (through translator): An insurgent can just shoot an RPG, and then, a few moments later, comes through the checkpoint and wave hello at me.

DAMON: His checkpoint is attacked two to three times a week. Many of his soldiers have fled or were killed.

One problem about sealing a neighborhood like this one? You seal the killers in with the innocent. Here, the insurgents are a deadly mix of Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni groups. About 30,000 people, innocent and insurgent, in two square miles.

HASSAN (through translator): We haven't been able to fully control the area. But we've been able to choke it off.

DAMON: The idea here is to protect those inside from threats both from the outside, and from within. This is what's left of a blown-out car which had come from inside the neighborhood.

STAFF SGT. BRIAN HOOD, U.S. ARMY: Then you have that mosque right there. That's where we take a lot of sniper fire and stuff like that from them. And it's just a game you play with them.

DAMON: The game here is deadly. Not just one of chasing insurgents, but also keeping the community gated.

STAFF SGT. MICHAEL DIXON, U.S. ARMY: Well, as you can see, they've got the hooks on the top of them. A lot of times the vehicles will come in, chain them up, pull those barriers aside, and then they'll be able to drive in for that night, or until we spot it.

DAMON (on camera): Here along the northern boundary of the neighborhood, the troops say it's been especially challenging. They are constantly setting up these barriers. And as you can see, coming to find them brought down, and having to set them up once again.

(voice over): The military says murders are down 80 percent the last four months. Tips about insurgent activity are up.

Still, about half the stores we see while driving through the market are closed, and trash is everywhere. This man complains about the trash, but Sergeant Major Hassan explains, any time a municipal employee enters the area, they end up dead. Waiting in line in a trip out of Amiriyah, 3-year-old twins are as restless as kids anywhere stuck in the backseat of a car. Their mother tells us that she's still afraid to leave their house. But the kid's father disagrees, saying security inside Amiriyah is all right.

American forces hope he's right.


DAMON: Ralitsa, and even among those citizens of Amiriyah that we spoke to that said that they felt the situation within the neighborhood was getting better, they still said that they feared what happened outside of those walls and were concerned about becoming prisoners within that area. And also, they felt that maybe to a certain degree, these gated communities would maybe only further isolating the Iraqis from one another.

VASSILEVA: Arwa Damon in Baghdad.

Thank you very much -- Stephen.

FRAZIER: Well, let's turn now to the Virginia Tech massacre. We are learning a lot more now about that mysterious interlude, what Cho Seung-Hui was doing in the hours between the two separate shooting rampages that killed 32 people.

VASSILEVA: Well, after the first shootings in the dormitory, he went back to his own room to finish preparing a package containing a multimedia diatribe of hatred.

FRAZIER: And then he went to a post office and mailed the contents to a U.S. television network. It arrived Wednesday morning, and it's now being analyzed by the FBI. But a lot of it has been released, and there was a lot of material in it. There were pages of text, there were still photos on a DVD he recorded, a lot of videos where he was talking directly to the camera.

VASSILEVA: Gary Tuchman reports on those chilling messages.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cho Seung-Hui is dead. But he has now spoken as if from the grave.


CHO SEUNG-HUI, VIRGINIA TECH GUNMAN: When the time came, I did it. I had to.


TUCHMAN: It's now evident this bloodshed was elaborately planned. A package was sent by the gunman to NBC's headquarters in New York the day of the mayhem. What is being called a multimedia manifesto includes 27 video files.


CHO: You had 100 billion chances and ways to have avoided today, but you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.


TUCHMAN: The package is not addressed to anyone in particular, but it's full of venom and hatred from a man who believes the world has done him wrong.


CHO: Do you know what it feels like to be spit on your face and have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear?

Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled -- impaled upon on a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement?

You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs.

Your trust fund wasn't enough. Your vodka and Cognac weren't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.


TUCHMAN: Cho included 43 still photos in the package. The first two show him as a normal looking college student. The rest are troubling and disturbing.


CHO: You sadistic snobs, I may be nothing but a piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul, and tortured my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy's life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die, like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.


TUCHMAN: The package's postmark indeed indicates it was mailed the day of the killings. In fact, the 9:01 a.m. time that is written shows he mailed it between the two murder sprees at the dorm and at the classroom building.


CHO: You just love to crucify me. You loved inducing cancer in my head, terrorizing my heart, and raping my soul all this time.


TUCHMAN: And, in the package, a chilling note -- he praises the "martyrs like Eric and Dylan," a reference to the Columbine High School killers.

It is evident that this man, who has single-handedly ruined so many lives, considers himself a martyr, too.


CHO: I didn't have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But, no, I will no longer run. It's not for me. For my children, for my brothers and sisters that you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I did it for them.


TUCHMAN: What he did was cause misery. And, in this high-tech multimedia age, he goes down as a calculated, cold-blooded killer.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Blacksburg, Virginia.


VASSILEVA: Those pictures are so disturbing. We agonized over them, whether we should broadcast them, what is their value, how disturbing they would be to the parents.

FRAZIER: They are disturbing to see. Of course, in addition to the powerful impact they have, powerful insights into the mind of a killer, which is what everybody was asking about, who could do this, what was he thinking?


FRAZIER: What propelled him in this direction?


FRAZIER: So what we're hoping to do is learn a lot more from those. And as authorities release more with their analysis, we'll be bringing that to you as well.

But, from the depths of the horrible events in Virginia come a lot of uplifting stories, too. Heroism and survival.

Cho shot 45 people in all. He killed 32 of them. The mother of the last person who was shot by Cho talks about what her son went through that terrible day, and Elizabeth Cohen was there to hear her story.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is one of the first images America saw of the Virginia Tech tragedy, a young man and woman severely wounded, rescue workers carrying them out of Norris Hall. The man is Colin Goddard, a 21-year-old international studies student, he told his parents he was the last person Cho Seung- Hui shot before he killed himself.

ANNE GODDARD, COLIN GODDARD'S MOTHER: Went first one row of desks and started shooting just randomly.

COHEN: Today Colin's mother waited anxiously for her son to come out of surgery, a rod inserted in to his leg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They still had 30 more minutes to go at 10 until 10:00 -- about 10:20, he should be out of surgery. Everything's going fine.


COHEN: As she waited, Goddard described what her son said happened inside the French class. His teacher, Jocelyne Couture- Nowak, heard gunfire in the hallway and yelled for students to call 911.

Colin did, but within seconds, Cho entered the room spraying it with fire. He wounded Colin in the leg. Colin says Cho then left the room for about three minutes, and returned as Colin lay on the floor.

GODDARD: He turned his head and actually -- well, he saw the shooter's shoes, came close right up to his body. The shooter was standing right next to him. He was scared to death. He was absolutely scared to death. He kept his wits about him but he was scared to death.

COHEN: Standing next to him, Cho shot Colin two more times, in the shoulder and the buttock. And then...

GODDARD: He heard two shots from the front of the room, and later on he learned the shooter was dead in the front of the room.

COHEN: So he shot at your son and the next thing he did was...

GODDARD: He killed himself.

COHEN: The next thing Colin heard, the police.

GODDARD: Then they said, shooter down, black tag. And it was a code they were giving, and they black tagged then a few the other students in the room who were dead.

COHEN (on camera): And black tag means...

GODDARD: And they were dead.

COHEN (voice-over): Among the dead, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, Colin's French teacher.

GODDARD: OK. Went really, really well, those were the words.

COHEN: During our interview, Goddard got good news, the surgery was a success. He joined his family a few hours later.

GODDARD: I don't want this to be the defining moment in my son's life. I want the defining moment to be something positive, some great celebration of his life.


VASSILEVA: And it's nice to have a story of hope come out of this hopelessness and senselessness of this massacre of innocent life.

FRAZIER: It is good to have that.

Elizabeth Cohen brought us that story, and we wish everybody recuperating now our very best as they fight to come back from this events of Monday.

And we'll have a lot more, too, from Virginia Tech, coming up.

VASSILEVA: Yes, the students at Virginia Tech remembering the victims, those that didn't survive, those that didn't make it out of this horrible massacre.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "We will never forget. With evil comes good. You are all in a higher place."


VASSILEVA: Students at Virginia Tech remember the victims of Monday's shootings.

FRAZIER: And we will go to France for the last-minute campaigning for the presidential election. A closer look coming at one of two front-running candidates, when YOUR WORLD TODAY returns.


FRAZIER: Cheers and a lot of enthusiasm here for French presidential candidate Francois Bayrou at a big rally in Paris. But we're learning that with only three days to go before voters choose the replacement for Jacques Chirac, public opinion polls do not favor Bayrou. He's in the center. One of the final polls before Sunday's vote puts him third, and well behind the traditional party candidates from the left and the right.

VASSILEVA: Speaking of the other candidates, here's a brief primer on the top four candidates for you now.

The frontrunner is Nicolas Sarkozy from the Union for a Popular Movement, which is the ruling party. He was Jacques Chirac's interior minister and is 52 years old.

FRAZIER: Segolene Royal is Sarkozy's closest opponent in terms of her poll results as the Socialist Party's candidate. She's hoping to become France's first woman president. She is 53 years old, she's run on a platform of traditional social values.

VASSILEVA: Francois Bayrou is the Union for a French Democracy candidate. He's considered a centrist who has promised to create a coalition government. He's 55 years old, a teacher, farmer, and part- time horse breeder.

FRAZIER: And finally, Jean-Marie Le Pen, finally familiar to many of you. He's the National Front far right candidate. And he's familiar because this is the fifth time he's run for president. He's 78 years old now, considered a long shot this time.

Nicolas Sarkozy is ahead in one of the final polls before the vote.

VASSILEVA: But his lead is quite a slim won. Sarkozy, who is known as a law and order hard-liner, is ahead by only four points in the BVS (ph) public opinion poll.

FRAZIER: Jim Bittermann takes a closer look now at Nicolas Sarkozy, the candidate.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a country that savors subtly and celebrates the circuitous, Nicolas Sarkozy is blunt and direct. He's made it clear for most of his adult life he wants to be president of France. Some say now he feels he deserves to be president of France.

An old university buddy who once drove across Europe with Sarkozy in a beat-up car saw it years ago.

JEAN-MARIE CHAUSSONIERE, SARKOZY FRIEND FROM UNIVERSITY (through translator): When he entered politics at 20 years old, he had the desire to become the best. He climbed every step of the political ladder, saying, "I did the best I could, and I will do better."

BITTERMANN: Many say the 52-year-old Sarkozy was driven to prove himself because as the son and grandson of Hungarian and Greek immigrants, he did not easily fit in to the French bourgeoisie. That his parents were divorced did not help either.

His younger brother confirms the three Sarkozy brothers felt they were never like their French friends.

FRANCOIS SARKOZY, BROTHER OF CANDIDATE: I think the driver is himself. And his temper and his character and his willingness, might have an impact. I mean, it's not the -- the sons of divorced parents or not all the sons of immigrants are candidates to the presidential election.

BITTERMANN: His first real political triumph came here in the leafy Paris suburb of Nouie (ph). In the city council chamber where he was elected mayor, his acquaintances remember a disciplined achiever. MAYOR LOUIS-CHARLES BARY, LONGTIME POLITICAL ALLY (through translator): Here, we knew he had political ambitions very clear and precise. He has a commanding personality, it is true.

He likes to decide. He needs to decide. He listens to others. Those that say he has a fascist side are totally ridiculous.

BITTERMANN: Yet, for the past two years, as Sarkozy served as minister of the Interior, France's top policeman, that's exactly the accusations his opponents level at him. His tough response to suburban and student unrest earned him a reputation for being heavy handed and, critics say, ruthless.

Still, his friends, like attorney Arno Klarsfeld, who frequently takes on humanist causes, say the public perception of his jogging partner is all wrong.

ARNO KARLSFELD, SARKOZY FRIEND: I know really he's a nice guy, sensitive, and I know that you can count on him. And he's -- in general, he says what he thinks and he does what he says. And I think it's time for France to change a little bit, and I think he's the right guy at the right time and the right moment.

BITTERMANN: That remains for the voters to decide. But among friends and enemies alike, there is no dispute that a Sarkozy presidency would bring change and be full of energy.

After the dedication of his look-alike at a wax museum recently, an observer said it's the only Nicolas Sarkozy you'll ever see standing still.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


VASSILEVA: That was a good one.

Well, we're all over this election. Jim Bittermann, along with Hala Gorani and Robin Oakley, will be part of CNN's extensive coverage of the voting in France. Be sure to join us as the polls close on Sunday at 18:00 GMT.

FRAZIER: And those wax -- those pictures there are the real Jim Bittermann, not his wax counterpart here.

We also have a Web site especially set up for this -- Profiles of the major candidates, links to our special in-the-field blogs from our election team. A new feature here.

There is another important election that we have been watching very closely as well.

VASSILEVA: And it has a crowded field of candidates. And while who will win remains quite uncertain at this time, the big winner for Africa's most populous nation may be democracy. FRAZIER: And live pictures here as America's top cop fights before Congress to keep his job. Will he succeed? We'll tell you how he's doing.


ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: American patience is limited.


VASSILEVA: Growing concern in Iraq. Is the American military losing ground? The latest when YOUR WORLD TODAY returns.




FRAZIER: Welcome back to all of our viewers joining us from more than 200 countries around the globe, including the United States.

VASSILEVA: This is YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.

FRAZIER: And I'm Stephen Frazier.

Here are some of the top stories we've been tracking today. Federal authorities in the United States are looking into these disturbing materials that the Virginia Tech gunman sent to a U.S. television net work, NBC News. Cho Seung-Hui sent writings and pictures of himself holding weapons and 27 video clips, in which he spoke to the camera, and voiced his hatred for wealthy people.

Officials believe Cho mailed the envelope in between the two shooting sprees on campus.

VASSILEVA: Families in Baghdad spent much of Thursday burying their loved ones, a day after bombings there killed nearly 200 people. Another bombing in the capital on Thursday has claimed at least 12 lives.

FRAZIER: Also in Baghdad Thursday, the U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived for talks with military commanders and Iraqi leaders, as well. It was the latest stop in his tour of the region. Earlier, Gates said that progress was being made in Iraq, but has to be made at a quicker pace.

VASSILEVA: Insurgents have shown they can effectively shred the security measures put in place for Baghdad as Wednesday's attacks make it all too painfully clear. Now, senior U.S. military officials are wondering, not only how such bombings can be stopped, but whether they can be stopped at all. Here is Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across Baghdad, at least six bombings. One of the deadliest days in Iraq ever. Insurgents challenging the Bush administration's claim that the troop surge and security crackdown are working. On Capitol Hill, the top U.S. commander for the region had a dire warning about Iraq.

ADM. WILLIAM FALLON, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTCOM: I'll tell you, there is hardly a week that goes by, certainly almost a day that doesn't go by without some major event that also causes us to lose ground.

STARR: CNN has learned that at the most senior levels of the U.S. military, there is growing concern that al Qaeda-backed suicide car bomb attacks simply may be unstoppable.

Commanders also are worried that recent violence, including the bombing in the Green Zone, and challenges by the radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr, may be a death blow to political progress.

FALLON: This is really the Iraqi leadership's major and potential last opportunity to really take this ball forward.

STARR: Defense Secretary Robert Gates, touring the Middle East, warned that getting Iraqis to take control of their future is one of the vital benchmarks to keeping the U.S. troop surge in place.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think that there is progress being made. I believe that faster progress can be made in the political reconciliation process in Iraq.

STARR: And while the administration continues to oppose congressional deadlines for withdrawing troops from Iraq, the secretary used the controversy in Washington to offer his own warning to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

GATES: What I have said is that the debate in Congress, I think, has been helpful, in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited.

STARR (on camera): There are some positive developments. Sectarian killings are down. And attacks in the often violent al Anbar province have been reduced in recent weeks. But many commanders say the question now may be, how to stop those terrible car bombs that are causing so much tragedy. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


FRAZIER: Now, more on the aftermath of the massacre at Virginia Tech. As the days go by, we are getting a much clearer picture of exactly what went on that morning on the Virginia Tech campus. David Mattingly shows us now how the design, the layout of one of the buildings actually helped the killer, by eliminating most avenues of escape.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Made of gray and brown limestone, the Virginia Tech engineering hall has the signature look of early 20th century campus buildings. Inside on the second floor, basic classrooms are fitted with chalk boards and simple no frills desks. And to a gunman intent on killing, there is a clear advantage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just stepped in, and five feet of the door and just started firing.

MATTINGLY: When Cho Seung-Hui, seen here in photos he sent to NBC, stepped inside a German class and opened fire, he blocked the only entrance to the room. Students had nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

DEREK O'DELL, WOUNDED STUDENT: He went in our classroom, shot somebody, almost instantly, as soon as he entered. At that point, he started shooting multiple people. A lot of them in the front row. And then lots of us panicked and moved under our desks and tried to take cover.

MATTINGLY: When he stepped out of the first classroom, Cho was only about 10 stops away from any of five other doors. He moved freely in the hallway with a clear shot at anyone who could have tried to escape.

Carrying the two pistols he posed with in this photos, if Cho was looking for a place on campus, where he could trap entire rooms of potential victims, he found it.

(on camera): The killer could pick any classroom he wanted. People familiar with that wing of the building say that the doors are made of solid wood, the students weren't able to look outside. They couldn't see where Cho was going next. To make the situation even worse, the doors have no locks.

(voice-over): That left only two options for survival. Zach Petkewicz and a classmate grabbed a table and blocked the door to their room. Cho couldn't get in, even when he fired rounds through the door.

ZACH PETKEWICZ, VIRGINIA TECH STUDENT: You know, we were just trying to hold that table against that door. And thankfully, we weren't in front of it when he did shoot through it.

MATTINGLY: The last hope for some was to jump through the building's small windows, not built to accommodate a mass escape. And no easy feat to squeeze through. Not to mention the sheer drop from the second floor.

An easy choice for some when it seemed like the only alternative was death. David Mattingly, CNN, Blacksburg, Virginia.


VASSILEVA: Well, the tragedy at Virginia Tech has been made even more agonizing by Cho Seung-Hui's disturbing video, which he sent to the media.

FRAZIER: We have been receiving e-mails about it. We're going to let you hear some of them now.

Bruce in the United Arab Emirates writes, "The media extravaganza of his rantings will encourage other insecure individuals to seek the same form of irrational recognition."

VASSILEVA: Robert in the United Kingdom hopes the video of Cho will do some good, and "The public will look at themselves, or their gun-toting friends in the face and think hard about how they view gun control laws in the United States."

FRAZIER: Nat from Malaysia wants the media attention for Cho to stop. He writes, "He was a cold-blooded murderer who took innocent lives. The media should focus on the victims and their families."

VASSILEVA: And here is what Marc wrote us. He didn't say where he was writing to s from but here is what he said. "Why do you continue to make a martyr out of Cho? Why not show video of the people he killed and how they lived their lives?"

FRAZIER: And we take all of your concerns about the broadcasting of this material to heart, thank you for sharing your opinions. We will also try to bring you other useful things, like David Mattingly's report there which showed design flaws which made it so difficult for people to get away.

And as the new facts emerge, a lot of people are beginning to accuse Virginia Tech police of mishandling the first shooting incident, the one that took place at as dormitory building early in the morning. Police first labeled the killing of two students a domestic dispute. Of course we now know that the first shooting was only the beginning of a deadly rampage that would shock the world. John King walks us through that.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carl Thornhill was the boyfriend of the first shooting victim, and the suspect that has police focusing off campus while a massacre was being carried out on campus.

Emily Hilscher was gunned down at 7:15 a.m. Monday morning, not long after Thornhill dropped her off here, at Virginia Tech's Ambler Johnston dormitory.

Police at the scene made a quick preliminary assumption it was a lover's quarrel. That judgment is now under fire, because while police were looking for a boyfriend off campus, we now know Cho Seung- Hui was on his way to mail his photos, an angry manifesto to NBC, before he continued with his deadly rampage on campus, a half mile from the first shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was information we developed from witnesses on the scene.

KING (on camera): Police say in those hectic moments after the first shooting, they thought they were following a solid lead. Emily's roommate told them her boyfriend owned guns, and that as recently as two weeks ago, they came to this shooting range near campus to shoot target practice.

Visit the range, and you will see scores and scores of spent shells from rifles and shotguns, even from..22-caliber guns, the type of weapon used in the shootings.

(voice-over): Monday morning, after dropping Emily at Virginia Tech, Thornhill went to class at nearby Radford University. What he didn't know is police were looking for him, and soon be at his home looking for evidence.

(on camera): This is the affidavit filed by Virginia Tech detectives to support a search warrant here at Thornhill's house. This affidavit says the police wanted to come here to search for, quote, "firearms, ammunition, bloody clothing, footwear, and other tangible evidence associated with the alleged murders."

(voice-over): The search turned up nothing. Thornhill was pulled over on route 460 on his way home from class. He was handcuffed and questioned at roughly the same time Cho was methodically gunning down 30 victims at the Norris Hall Engineering Building back at Virginia Tech.

Law enforcement sources believe Cho was the only shooter although police still label Thornhill a person of interest in the case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do believe he maybe has some information that will assist us in this investigation.

KING: No one answered at Thornhill's apartment. The next door neighbor said she did not know him. Because police initially suspected a domestic dispute and believed Hilscher's boyfriend fled campus, they did not cancel classes or lock down the campus.

They continued to defend that decision, saying in most cases, assault and murder victims know the attacker. Cho's guns were used in both campus shootings. Police say they have no information, though, linking Cho to Emily Hilscher or any of the 32 victims, or to the buildings where the slayings took place. John King, CNN, Blacksburg, Virginia.


VASSILEVA: Well, it's history in the making for Africa's most populous nation.

FRAZIER: When we come back, we will go to Nigeria where they could be setting a new standard for democracy. The latest from the campaign trail, just ahead.

VASSILEVA: And later, messages of sorrow and comfort on the campus of Virginia Tech. As friends and class mates remember the victims of the tragic shooting spree. More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a moment.


VASSILEVA: Welcome back, you are watching YOUR WORLD TODAY here on CNN International.

FRAZIER: We are being seen live in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe right now.

VASSILEVA: We will take you now to Nigeria where a former military dictator, the current vice president, and a state governor are emerging as the top three candidates.

FRAZIER: Yeah, and that vice president just got permission to run by the Supreme Court there. Things are happening fast in Africa's most populous nation and biggest oil producer. They go to the polls Saturday. Our Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange looks at some of the candidates.


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Campaign season in Nigeria means a lot of familiar faces, and some not so familiar faces.

Two dozen candidates alone vying for the title of president of Africa's most populous nation. Outgoing president Olusegun Obasanjo surprised many by picking this man, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, as his chosen successor.

Yar-Adua is a governor from one of the country's northern states, and is largely seen by critics as unknown and untested. The candidate insists he's ready to take over the leadership mantle of the ruling People's Democratic Party, or PDP.

UMARU MUSA YAR'ADUA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Very ready. Mentally, psychologically, physically. In all aspects, I'm ready, and prepared. For this challenge.

KOINANGE: Experts say Yar'Adua will have his work cut out for him, trying to beat out a crowded field that includes such political heavyweights as the country's vice president, Atiku Abubakar, long considered the obvious choice to succeed Obasanjo.

But the two had a very public falling out. And Abubakar was forced out of the ruling party. He went on to form his own, the Action Congress Party, or A.C.

In the run-up to the election, Abubakar was accused, some say unfairly, of corruption charges, and spent most of his time in and out of court. In the final days before the polls, he was handed a lifeline. The country's high court ruled he was eligible to run, but some experts here believe it may be too little, too late to salvage his candidacy.

UMARU FAROUK, DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: Atiku has disrespected the president. Atiku has brought division within the presidency. Atiku has been indicted for corruption, so we don't want Atiku. KOINANGE: Another challenger for the top job is himself a former military head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, running for the All Nigeria People's Party, or ANPP.

PRINCE CHUDY CHUKWANE, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: If you take the case of Buhari, Buhari is what you call a regional champion. The people that support him are the low class people in the northern part of Nigeria. So it is restricted to a region. He does not enjoy support across all the parts of the country.

KOINANGE: One candidate who could be the surprise of the campaign season is newcomer Orji Kalu. The 46-year-old millionaire governor and football club owner.

ORJI KALU, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nigeria knows they are looking for a president who would be willing to call a spade a spade. Nigeria knows they are looking for a president who can unite the country.

KOINANGE: Yar'Adua may be a slight lead over his opponents in most polls, but questions about his health have been persisting in the lead up to the elections. He's had a history of kidney problems, and for a time was on dialysis.

YAR'ADUA: Think I'm as healthy as any 56-year-old man on the surface of the earth. What people want, my opponents want, is a guarantee, I cannot make that.

KOINANGE: What seems to be guaranteed, though, is a new civilian president succeeding another civilian president. Something that hasn't happened here before.

BUKOLA SARAKI, KWARA STATE GOVERNOR: I think it's clear that, you know, democracy has come to stay in Nigeria, Nigerians want democracy. It is new for us to have a transition of a civilian president handing over to another civilian president. It is new. But it is clear that all hands on deck.

KOINANGE: All hands on deck as Africa's most populous nation prepares to navigate uncharted waters. Jeff Koinange, CNN, Abuja.



VASSILEVA: A scene from Seoul's main cathedral, for a mass for the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings was held. Many in South Korea have taken the Virginia Tech gunman's crime personally. Cho Seung-Hui was born in South Korea, but his family moved to the United States when he was just eight years old.

FRAZIER: Really, the American culture that produced this, not really Korean. But they are taking this ...

VASSILEVA: Very personally, yeah. FRAZIER: And, a little bit closer to the scene of the tragedy, as Tech itself mourns, officials are seeking ways to let students express their emotions. Some tangible way, visible way.

VASSILEVA: Yes, and they've actually set up boards where mourners can write their memories of the victims.

FRAZIER: And here we are in this story which has been driven by images and now this multimedia computer-driven confession.

These boards are really low tech, a real low tech memorial to those who were lost, but still very effective as John Roberts shows us.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They have become the new center of gravity at Virginia Tech. Sixteen white poster boards that stand within sight of Norris Hall, where 30 people lost their lives. It is in many ways, a living memorial. Mourners write. They read, they remember. They grieve.

"I'm glad I hugged you at our last practice," one girl writes to Reema Samaha, an urban planning student.

"You were the best sister a girl could ask for, and heaven is so lucky to have you. I love you." That message to Caitlin Hammaren, only 19 years old, majoring in international studies and French.

TRACY ALITZER, PROFESSOR LOGANATHAN'S NEIGHBOR: It's kind of hard to live in the community and be a part of the community and not be touched by this somehow.

ROBERTS: Tracy Altizer and her daughter Kaelie live just down the street from the family of Professor G.V. Loganathan. Loganathan, who taught civil and environmental engineering, died in Norris Hall on Monday. Kaelie is friends with Loganatha's daughter, now coping with the loss of her dad.

KAELIE ALITZER, PROFESSOR LOGANATHAN'S NEIGHBOR: On Monday when she found out she was really sad and her sister flew in - came in from UVA and so she is missing her classes but their mom is taking it a lot harder than what Abi (ph) is taking.

ROBERTS: The messages, notes, photos and flowers are all a chance for mourners to express their emotions in a tangible and public way. The words are there for all to see. Just reading them moves many to tears.

It is far too early to think about healing here. But this coming together, this collective convulsion of grief is the first step on a difficult path to recovery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will never forget, with evil comes good. You are all in a higher place.

ROBERTS: John Roberts, CNN, Blacksburg, Virginia.


VASSILEVA: The news continues here on CNN.