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Haiti Ambassador: Police Kill Four Suspects, Arrest Two Connected To Assassination Of President Jovenel Moise; England Top Denmark, Will Face Italy In Sunday Final; Overwhelmed Indonesian Hispitals Face Oxygen Shortages; Growing Resistance Movement Training for Civil War in Myanmar; Belgium to Return Art to Democratic Republic of Congo. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired July 8, 2021 - 00:00   ET




ANDERSON: Would add a slew of new restrictions to curtail voting. It's worth pointing out that the former president won Texas handily during last year's presidential election. News continues for us. Let's hand it over to CNN NEWSROOM with Paula Newton.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton. Coming up on CNN Newsroom, Haitian police moved quickly after the assassination of the country's president. Four suspects now dead and two others are detained. A thrilling win for England, the Three Lions are through to the Euro 2020 final after defeating Denmark. And in Myanmar, the country's rebel groups train the opposition to take on the military hunting.

And we begin with dramatic new developments in the assassination of the president of Haiti. Now, Haiti's envoy to the United States says police have killed four suspects and arrested two others and he says they are all foreigners. Now he'd previously described them as well- trained killers and mercenaries.

President Jovenel Moise was gunned down at about one a Wednesday local time. It's not clear if you face any specific threat prior to his killing. But his turbulent rule was plagued by problems. Martine Moise, the first lady, was also shot and has now been airlifted to Florida for treatment. She is reportedly in critical but stable condition. Haiti's ambassador to the United States spoke earlier to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


BOCCHIT EDMOND, HAITIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: I wish I had known the motivations behind this senseless act of killing of a president in function. But I do believe certainly the president was killed for his beliefs, for his policies, for his reforms. Unfortunately, in Haitian politics so far, we are not able to find a, you know, a way to discuss our political disagreement at a peaceful matter.


NEWTON: Now the President's assassination happened against a background of extreme violence in the Haitian capital. The acting Prime Minister has now declared a state of siege, and two weeks of national mourning. Melissa Bell picks up the story.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: By the time security forces responded in the early hours of Wednesday morning, it was too late. Haitian President Jovenel Moise was dead, assassinated in his private residence, his wife, the first lady of Haiti, gravely wounded, medevaced to the U.S. for potential life-saving treatment. As daylight dawned on the aftermath of bullet holes and spent shell casings, the scope of the brazen attack more clear.


CLAUDE JOSEPH, HAITIAN ACTING PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The information we have is that the attackers were a group of English and Spanish speaking persons. They were carrying huge caliber weapons and killed the president.


NEWTON: This audio circulating on social media purported to be of the time of the assassination. CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of the video. Men shouting in English.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DEA operations. Everybody back up and stand down.


NEWTON: Claiming they are U.S. drug enforcement agents providing clues of how the attackers may have been able to penetrate the security perimeter surrounding the presidential residence seemingly with ease. The Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. saying at a news conference on Wednesday, those responsible are believed to be highly trained mercenaries posing as U.S. agents.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said they identified themselves as DEA?

EDMOND: Yes, that's why the person -- that's how they presented themselves as DEA agents like they are here for an -- DEA operation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe they were actually DEA?

EDMOND: No. There was no way, there was no DEA would have come. In the operation like this, we'll have been informed and everything they do are always with the U.S. Embassy (INAUDIBLE) (END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: The U.S. State Department also dismissing as preposterous that those responsible could be DEA agents.


NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: These reports are absolutely false. The United States condemns this heinous act. These false reports are nothing more than that, just false reports.


NEWTON: The Asian government says a manhunt is now underway for those responsible. The restive state's acting Prime Minister who has assumed leadership of the country trying to assure stunned population, as well as world leaders, that the government of Haiti is still functioning, declaring a state of siege.


Which allows for the closing of national borders and temporarily invokes martial law.


JOSEPH (through translator): We want to assure you that we will bring the killers of the president to justice. Please stay calm, and let the authorities do their work. We don't want the country to plunge into chaos. This is a very sad day for our nation and for our people.


NEWTON: In life, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was a polarizing figure, with many protesting his rule, and demanding he resign. He presided over a country on the precipice of chaos. The question now, will his death push the nation past its breaking point? Melissa Bell CNN.


NEWTON: Jake Johnston is A Senior Research Associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He's also the lead author of their blog, Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch. And he joins me now from Washington. Good to have you here, Jake, for your analysis. It really was a shocking turn of events. If you look at what happened on their face, extraordinary even by Haitian standards, and that's saying something, but kind of try and take a step back for us and let us know what was going on in Haiti before this incident.

JAKE JOHNSTON, SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: Yes, and thanks for having me. You know, so I think it's true. You know, many are sort of looking today at Haiti for the first time, right? But I think, you know, it's really important to understand that this is something that has been developing and ongoing for months and even years, right, in a context of near total media silence, right?

And so really beginning in 2018, you saw the rise of this unprecedented movement against corruption, nationwide protests, targeting officials from both Moise administration, as well as his predecessor, Michel Martelly's government, that government was met with brutal repression. And since 2018, there have been at least 12 massacres in Port-au-Prince, right? They've largely targeted neighborhoods that were the center of these protests. And you've had local human rights organizations, as well as the United Nations document links between these armed civilian groups that have perpetrated the massacres with state officials, including police, former and current and government ministers, right?

Just last week, a prominent anti-corruption activist and a journalist were assassinated. And this has all been met with glaring impunity, right? So when you talk to Haitians who may be shocked but not surprised, you know, this is why, right? Haitians have been living every day in fear of their lives.

NEWTON: Yes, and as you said, glaring impunity. Certainly it was repressive and had been for quite a few years. And yet then we have this event. The big question is, who could possibly be behind this and why?

JOHNSTON: You know, look, I think, you know, it's really early to tell. There's a lot that we still don't know, there's a lot of unknowns, a lot of information still coming out, and a lot of fake news and rumors that are circulating rapidly, right? I think, you know, there's a number of dynamics to keep in mind here, right? Obviously, that there's been a conflict between the political opposition and the Haitian government, the Haitian president for some time now over a contested mandate, many of whom in Haiti consider his -- the president's mandate to have ended last February, right?

So there's been this political crisis brewing for some time. But I think it's really important to note that, you know, there are plenty of other fissures within the Haitian government and within the Haitian elite, right? And it's, you know, again, there's plenty of people who would have the means and certainly the motivation to have done this. The President has made a number of enemies in the last number of years.

NEWTON: Yes, just bizarre events, though, in terms of trying to figure out the motivation that is behind this. It has to be said, and we say it every time when we talk about Haiti, right, poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, just so close to American shores. And, you know, the title of your of your blog, we talk about reconstruction, something that Haiti has not been able to do really for decades. Was this really, in terms of the stagnation, had things really been getting even worse in the last few years in Haiti?

JOHNSTON: You know, well, look, I mean, I know, you know, every report about Haiti has to include the line that it's the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, right? I think a far more relevant fact is it's positioned as the first, you know, nation founded after a successful slave revolt, the first nation to successfully and permanently abolish slavery in 1804, right? And it's a country that has paid dearly for that historic achievement for centuries, right?

And when you look at the current environment in Haiti, the current situation in Haiti, it's impossible not to look at the role of international actors in bringing the situation to the current, you know, floor. And I think, you know, again, you know, you look at Haiti, and many will look at recent events and declare Haiti must be a failed state, right? You know, I'd argue what we are seeing is really something else, you know, in aid state, a state that has been shaped as much by foreign intervention and foreign interference than by the Haitian population itself.

Really in previous decades, and since the Haitian earthquake in 2010, you've seen the virtual outsourcing of the entire public administration, NGOs, church groups and development organizations.


The Haitian police has largely been under international management for 20 years, right? So I think if anything has failed, you know, it's been this intervention of these foreign actors in Haiti. And I think, right now, after this tragic event, we see a lot of people calling for another intervention, right? I think this is entirely misguided, you know. It's Haitians who will be determining their future and Haitians who should be empowered to do so. And I think a solution imposed from abroad, you know, has failed in the past and is likely to do so in the future.

NEWTON: Yes, many have commented that the billions of dollars that was sent there from reconstruction after the earthquake would have been better spent in the hands of Haitians themselves. I have to leave it there now, Jake, but this is a continuing story, and I thank you for your -- lending your expertise.

JOHNSTON: Thanks for having me.

NEWTON: Former South African President Jacob Zuma is now in custody. Police say he handed himself over late Wednesday just before midnight deadline where authorities would have arrested him. Zuma was sentenced last week to 15 months in prison for contempt of court for failing to appear at an inquiry into alleged corruption during his years in power. Now, he denies these allegations and his lawyer says he plans to challenge the sentence.

The matchup is set for the Euro 2020 final. Oh, that doesn't begin to cover the celebrations. Yes, those are English fans cheering and dancing in the streets of London after their team beat Denmark 2-1 in extra time. No less, CNN World Sport Anchor Patrick Snell is here with more. I watched the last part of this game, yes, I don't think any adjectives superlative is going to cut it really for those English fans and how pleased they were.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: You tuned in at just the right time, Paula, no question. You know, I get very nostalgic when I see that video there. It really is rather special, of course. Now I do want to pay tribute as well to the magnificent Denmark team who won many, many friends internationally for their magnificent performances throughout these Euros, especially when you consider what happened to Christian Eriksen.

But look, England, the winners here after extra time by two goals to one, very quickly the story of the game, the first goal that England had conceded in this tournament coming when Mikkel Damsgaard, the 21- year-old scored that absolutely wonderful free kick beating Jordan Pickford. That put the Danes ahead, the English getting level though just before halftime, actually an own goal from Simon Kjaer for 1-1.

It went to extra time and that man right there, Harry Kane with his penalty was actually saved by Kasper Schmeichel initially but the rebound falling kindly to Kane and he tucked it away and England are through to their first major competition final, would you believe, since the year 1966. Let's hear now from that man, Kane, take a listen.


HARRY KANE, ENGLAND CAPTAIN: Well, we've got more game to go, you know. What a fantastic tournament it's been so far, different type of win today. We had to dig deep against a very good Denmark side. And yes, we got the job done. So, of course, what an opportunity being at Wembley for the final of our first European Championship as a nation so I mean, we'll enjoy this one. But of course the focus turns straight onto Sunday, we recover well and try and prepare for that.


SNELL: Well, Sunday is the key day. Let's get back to these images from Central London after the match. You can see just what it means there to the English fans. They are letting their hair down as they say, and rightly so, excuse me, this is a country that really has underachieved at the very highest level given they are a traditional superpower of the game. They're going to have it very tough though, I can tell you, against for me what has been the best team at these Euros, the Italian national team, gli Azzurri, wonderfully coached by Roberta Mancini. They lie in wait next for England, Sunday at Wembley Stadium. It should be a magnificent final, Paula.

I do want to say though, close to 65,000 inside Wembley on Wednesday, and that is going to be really, really pivotal to the home side, the fan base, they are getting behind the national team who have been starved of success for over half a century. Now they're desperate for the win. I can't imagine what the scenes will be like, not just in London, but right across England come Sunday, if, if they can beat gli Azzurri. Back to you.

NEWTON: See, you're showing your bias there because of course it's going to be tense in Italy as well. My house, we have both Italian and English Heritage so rough day at my house.

SNELL: Yes, but I did say that for me, the Italians have been the best team at this Euro so far. Yes.

NEWTON: You did. You did.

SNELL: Yes. NEWTON: You are very generous and accurate I would say.

SNELL: We're trying to be fair, Paula.

NEWTON: OK. Patrick, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

SNELL: Oh, yes, and we got (INAUDIBLE) coming up in about 30 minutes. He'll us for that.

NEWTON: Right. And we will have much more. Thanks so much, Patrick. Appreciate it.


Now you just heard Patrick talking about all of those fans. Here's where we are with the Olympics 15 days from the start of those Tokyo Games. And as they get closer, we're waiting to see if Japan will extend its state of emergency for the capital city. That's important because the IOC president is expected to arrive in Tokyo any minute now and assign that organizers are still pushing full steam ahead. They are with certain caveats, though. CNN's Will Ripley joins me now live from Tokyo. And that's key, right? If they do extend that state of emergency and everyone expects that they will, with the cases on the rise in Japan, fans are likely to be ruled out, right?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Paula, the devil is in the details. And the details are not looking good at this hour for Olympics organizers, just ahead of the IOC President Thomas Bach's arrival here in Tokyo. This is actually an upgrade of what is currently in place here in the Japanese capital. It's been under a quasi-state of emergency. Now they're looking to actually upgrade it to a full state of emergency. It would be the fourth such state of emergency for Tokyo since the pandemic began.

And this makes it very difficult for Olympics organizers to actually have spectators in these venues, venues that Japan spent billions of dollars to create hoping for a tourism boom as a result of these games that have now been more costly and more complicated than ever before, after they were postponed by over a year. Not only your foreign spectators banned, but it's now looking more and more likely, according to Japanese media, that even local spectators may not be allowed in most of the venues, at least the ones here in Tokyo.

Or if they are allowed, the numbers are expected to be very small, certainly far less than the 50 percent capacity or up to 10,000 per venue that organizers had been hoping for before this news of cases surging, surging over the last 18 days to some of their highest levels in weeks, which is prompting this decision expected later today by Japan's Prime Minister. Of course, nothing official until the announcement is made. But all indications are, Paula, that there will be a state of emergency in place for much of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

NEWTON: And this is as the IOC members, athletes, trainers, everyone kind of gathers, the media gather in Tokyo. Will, you just arrived. Give us a sense of what it's like to enter Japan, what the precautions are like, the testing, the protocols.

RIPLEY: It was surreal, I will say, to arrive here in Tokyo to an almost empty airport. There were just a handful of people on my flight from Taipei. Four days before the flight, I had to start taking a series of pre-flight COVID tests. I had a whole stack of paperwork I had to present before I could even board the plane. And, of course, they perused that paperwork very carefully at the airport before I took yet another test there. I've taken another COVID test this morning. I'll be taking them for the next five days.

And this is in addition to a GPS tracking app to make sure that I don't violate the very strict conditions of my 14-day quarantine. So essentially, my team and I will be operating here in a bubble at our hotel until we hopefully clear the quarantine and then we can actually get out and cover the events at Olympic venues and throughout Tokyo.

NEWTON: Yes, and it is those protocols that the organizers are banking on to keep everyone safe during the Tokyo Olympics.

RIPLEY: Absolutely.

NEWTON: Will, it's really good to have you there and we'll continue to watch your reports. Appreciate it. Now Indonesia is expanding its Coronavirus restrictions after reporting record numbers of cases and deaths over the past week. Many hospitals are so overwhelmed patients are being asked to provide their own oxygen tanks. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a grim view, a rush to dig fresh graves in West Java, Indonesia, trying to keep up with a record number of COVID-19 deaths. As one body is laid to rest, no funeral or grieving relatives allowed, another waits in the back of an ambulance. One disconcerting reality here, many of the victims are children. Save the Children estimates one in eight confirmed cases are below the age of 18. And more than 600 are believed to have died.


DINO SATRIA, SAVE THE CHILDREN: It's hidden victim here of this crisis. They've been out of school for over a year, the families are losing their incomes. But now they are not hidden anymore, because now a lot of deaths is affecting them, and many more are being infected.


HANCOCKS: Chang Malin thought she was safe among the first in Indonesia to be fully vaccinated. She suffers from diabetes, but on June 23rd, she started coughing and spiked a fever. Within four days, she was unconscious. Her children called an ambulance, but the line was constantly busy. They hired a private van to take her to eight hospitals, but they all refused her.


in Jakarta and also another region like Tangerang, and also Bogor but they say that they are full. They don't have oxygen also.


HANCOCKS: Finally, her daughter found a private hospital who accepted her as long as she provided her own oxygen.


Turning to social media, she eventually found a donor and carried a 15-kilogram canister to the hospital herself. Her mother is not yet stable, but at least she's in the hospital.


HERWINDA: It's very full. All of their tents is full. And even in my mom's hospital, there are patient on the road because they don't have a room.


HANCOCKS: Trucks line up to get more oxygen for hospitals and clinics. Worried relatives bring individual canisters in the hope of giving loved ones a lifeline. One man says I joined the queue six hours ago to help a relative who's ill. This man says "I've been queuing for five hours. I need to refill two tanks for my mother who is ill at home."


JODI MAHARDI, SPOKESMAN, COORDINATING MINISTRY IN CHARGE OF COVID-19 (through translator): We are targeting a hundred percent of production of oxygen in Indonesia to be utilized for medical usage. It means all oxygen for industrial usage will be switched over for medical usage.


HANCOCKS: The government says they're preparing more than 7,000 extra hospital beds to try and ease the strain.


FITRA HERGYANA, DERMATOVENEROLOGIST, KARAWANG HOSPITAL (through translator): It's not that we don't want to serve the patients to the best of our ability, but our health workers are exhausted and are falling sick.


HANCOCKS: More than 1,100 medical staff have died so far in this pandemic. This was one hospital last week, patients waiting in corridors for medical attention. The hospital claims things are improving but the daily number of cases continues to break records and families struggle to find a hospital that will take their loved ones. As her window waits for good news from her mother her father and brother have now also tested positive. Paula Hancocks, CNN.

NEWTON: OK. Still had here on CNN, the Afghan government tries to push back Taliban forces with provincial capitals hanging in the balance. We have the latest on the conflict.


NEWTON: A fire that broke out after a massive explosion at the port in Dubai is now under control. Officials say the blast happened Wednesday inside a container on a ship that was docked at Port. Now the Dubai government later tweeted that there were no reports of any casualties. But witnesses say the explosion jolted buildings as far as 15 kilometers away. And social media posts showed a huge fireball that could be seen from afar. A senior government official says the ship owned by a company in the Comoros Islands was carrying cleaning products.

Fighting in Afghanistan continues to intensify as the Taliban push for territorial gains in the north. On Wednesday, Taliban forces invaded the capital of the northwestern province of Badghis. But the governor posted a video online claiming the city was indeed safe despite gunfire in the background and reports of a prison break. Further east now, Afghan Special Forces attempted to secure the provincial capital of Kunduz as Taliban fighters reach the gates of the city.


Most districts in Kunduz are now already under Taliban control.

Meantime, Iran hosted talks between representatives from the Afghan government and the Taliban Wednesday. Iran's Foreign Minister said the country is ready to be a mediator for the two sides before the fighting gets any worse. And we're going to talk more about this with Aaron O'Connell. He served during the Obama administration as Director for Defense Policy and Strategy. He is also an Afghanistan war veteran. He's now associate professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, and good to see you.

Clearly, you've been at this a while in terms of what's going on in Afghanistan. Where we are now, we've had the troop drawdown almost complete. And we also have, tentatively, perhaps some talk that we could get to some kind of a peace deal from all that you know, and in the position of relative strength that the Taliban finds itself in now, what do they want? What are they looking for? What would satisfy them?

AARON O'CONNELL, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN: director for defense policy and strategy. The Taliban is looking for nothing short of a full conquest of the country. That's their aspiration, their capabilities don't match those aspirations right now. But they want the full re-imposition of a Wahhabis Fundamentalist state that rules Afghanistan. And they're going to talk that game as loud as they can while they are still on the ascendancy militarily, which is what's happening right now, Paula.

NEWTON: And when we talk about what's happening right now, some people seem that perhaps they would be satisfied. And when I say some people, I mean those allies at the table that are trying to get to a peace deal, that some kind of partitioning of Afghanistan might be viable. So, you know, the government keeps Kabul, provincial capitals, some of them anyway, and the Taliban keeps some of their more traditional tribal lands. Do you think that is viable?

O'CONNELL: I learned -- there are ethnic cleavages throughout Afghanistan, with Uzbeks and the Tajiks to the north and the Pashtuns through the south and through the east. But to be clear, both -- the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban are both dominated by Pashtuns right now so there's -- that's an interior fight to the Pashtun community. So no, you can't just partition and give the Pashtun lands to the Taliban, because that includes the government. And there's --

NEWTON: But it's important to spell that out, because at this point in time, as the Taliban seems to be in the driver's seat, what can be accomplished at peace talks:?

O'CONNELL: Very little at these peace talks. To be clear, the U.S. government already signed its peace deal with the Taliban, which is really just a withdrawal agreement. These are the intra-Afghan talks that, frankly, have not been very serious. The Taliban is saying they will present a peace plan. These are not serious negotiations, because the Taliban is not treating them seriously.

And the State Department just issued a statement today, urging them to do so because they are trying to win on the battlefield, which I don't think is likely, but that's why they're continuing to talk peace while fighting.

NEWTON: While fighting. That's clear. You were very pointed about what the U.S. has done in terms of being at table or not being at the table. What about parties like Iran? We notice a push from them today to try and get some kind of talks going.

O'CONNELL: Well, all of Afghanistan's neighbors actually have legitimate interests in stability in Afghanistan, and none of them want a full takeover by the Taliban that produces dramatic refugee crises. So it's fine for them to be involved in discussions in the safety of their region, as should Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, all of the surrounding countries. So the bigger issue is just what they hope to gain in hosting the Taliban in this situation, which is surprising.

NEWTON: It is surprising them?

O'CONNELL: To a degree, I think so, yes. I think it's probably more for show than it is for an actual plan to produce a peace deal in Afghanistan anytime soon.

NEWTON: You know, I have to ask you, you served on the ground in Afghanistan, but also during the Obama administration, would you have envisioned where we are today? And what do you tell, to be frank, your fellow veterans who served in Afghanistan, O'CONNELL: I did not think we would still be in Afghanistan 10 years after we killed Osama bin Laden, I was on the ground when that happened. And I was sure we finally had found a way to declare an end to a war that was primarily and first and foremost about protecting United States from the transnational terrorist threat from al-Qaeda that the Taliban had then supported. We drove them out of the country and they did come back and I thought we were sort of in a very sticky spot in not being able to walk away. And I thought the killing of bin Laden gave us that opportunity. I was I was saddened that it didn't turn out that way over these last 10 years.

NEWTON: Yes. And it has been yet another decade as you rightly point out, Aaron O'Connell, thanks for this. Appreciate it.

O'CONNELL: Thank you very much for having me Paula.

NEWTON: Now, just two months after Bill Gates and his wife announced their divorce, the charitable foundation that bears the billionaire's name is now laying out a contingency plan if the two can't continue to work together.

Now, they're giving themselves a two-year trial period, but if they can't continue as co-chairs of the Gates Foundation, Bill Gates would remain in control while Melinda French Gates would resign her position as co-chair and trustee. She would receive personal resources from Gates for her own philanthropic work.


Five months after the coup in Myanmar, resistance groups are preparing to fight a military that's better equipped and unafraid of brutality. Coming up, an exclusive report from the training camp deep in the forest.


NEWTON: A United Nations human rights official is calling for tougher economic sanctions on Myanmar to choke off revenue to the junta. Now, the military ousted the elected government back in February.

Nationwide protests and strikes quickly followed, and the army responded with deadly force. Some sanctions were placed on money from gyms, timber, and mining.

But the U.N. special report on Myanmar says stronger action is needed.


THOMAS ANDREWS, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN MYANMAR: The only reason they're able to hold the people of Myanmar hostage is also a vulnerability. It takes considerable revenue to supply, equip and sustain the military. Cut off their income, and you cut off their capacity to continue their relentless attack on the people of Myanmar.

Oil and gas sector venues are a financial lifeline for the junta and are estimated to be close to what is needed for the junta to maintain and secure the forces that are keeping them in power. They should be stopped.


NEWTON: Meantime, though, a growing Myanmar resistance movement isn't waiting for outside help to defeat the military junta. It's training for combat against a formidable enemy.

Myanmar has about two dozen armed ethnic groups, and conflicts have erupted in a number of towns now. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes.

In a CNN exclusive, senior international correspondent Sam Kiley journeyed deep into the jungle to find young recruits preparing for civil war.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Camp Victoria. A major headquarters in a nationwide uprising against the country's military junta.


Some 200 volunteers from around the country have come seeking the military skills that they want to fight a regime that seized power in February and has brutally raised hopes of democracy here.



KILEY: They're villagers, young workers, and many are former students who protested the coup and now believe that they must take up arms against it.

NAING HTOO LWIN, VOLUNTEER, CHIN NATIONAL FRONT: Sad, it's very sad. They killed many people of our country. This camp can give me the power to fight the military junta.

KILEY: The instructors are members of the Chin National Front, a longstanding separatist army that is now in alliance with many others under Myanmar's national unity government in exile.

(on camera): These raw recruits are on day three of their training. They're only going to get 45 days' training. That includes drill, assault courses, and above all, weapons training before they're going to be thrown back into the fight.

DR. SUI KHAR, VICE CHAIRMAN, CHIN NATIONAL FRONT: They're equipped with local guns.

KILEY (voice-over): Rebel leaders know more blood will flow.

KHAR: There are more than 15,000 already, and still coming. Still organizing. I mean mobilizing the armed fighters. And this is what the NUG is trying to equip arms for them. KILEY (on camera): So it really is a civil war, isn't it?

KHAR: Leading to a civil war, now we've seen the kind of urban guerrilla attack, but within months it will transform into a conventional civil war.

KILEY (voice-over): Recent fighting with the junta forces has meant that reinforcements have been rushed to defensive lines. But the rush training has dangerous consequences.

(on camera): This young man, his comrades have told me, was blown up by an improvised explosive device that he was trying to plant as part of the defensive perimeter around this camp and around some of the villages that are threatened by the government army.

(on camera): Already, refugees are on the move, leaving these idyllic villages for hillside camps.

Taosong (ph) told me that the women, children and elders fled their village when they heard through the sounds of fighting. Many men stayed behind, but everyone fears the military for its brutality.

The Chin National Front says it's trained 3,000 people at Camp Victoria. Those who've graduated have been immediately deployed.

Most of their weapons are bird-hunting homemade shotguns, stored with an open fire to keep the damp off. They believe that this is a just fight, but they're short of weapons and rushed through training. And it will take more than righteousness and shotguns to topple a military regime.

And as the conflict continues, the numbers of dead will rise to a level when eventually, people may start to lose count.

Sam Kiley, Camp Victoria, western Myanmar.


NEWTON: The search-and-rescue mission at that south Florida condo collapse is transitioning now to a recovery mission. That's at this hour.

The Miami-Dade mayor says it was devastating to share the decision with the loved ones of those still missing, but she says work at the site will proceed at the same speed and intensity.

Search crews paused for a moment of silence Wednesday. Fifty-four bodies have now been recovered. Eighty-six people are potentially unaccounted for.

So from wooden statues to musical instruments, indigenous artwork looted long ago is now set to be returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We'll have the details next.



NEWTON: It doesn't belong to us. That was the blunt acknowledgment from Belgium as officials there say they'll begin the process of returning art looted during the colonial area to the Democratic Republic of Congo. But it won't happen right away.

CNN's Eleni Giokos has the details.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over many decades of colonial rule, Belgian and other European explorers and soldiers stole artwork from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Thousands of wooden statues, ivory masks, musical instruments, and other artifacts taken by force and eventually displayed in the African Museum near Brussels. Now Belgium says it will return the stolen art.

THOMAS DERMINE, BELGIAN STATE SECRETARY FOR SCIENTIFIC POLICY: The approach is very simple. Everything that was acquired through illegitimate means -- through theft, through violence, through pillaging -- must be given back. It doesn't belong to us.

GIOKOS: Belgium will transfer legal ownership of the artifacts to the DRC. But it will not immediately ship the art itself to the country unless the work is specifically requested by DRC authorities. That way, the museum can keep the works on display and pay a loan fee to the DRC.

GUIDO GRYSEELS, DIRECTOR, AFRICA MUSEUM: I have no problem whatsoever to transfer the ownership to the Congolese to whom it rightly belongs. It's a moral question. And negotiate we would like to use it in an exhibition, under what conditions can we help them. Will we pay you a loan fee? Will you just leave it here for the time being? Or what is the condition?

GIOKOS: The museum will also spend time determining if it is not clear which items were stolen and which were obtained legally.

GRYSEELS: I guess that in five years, with a lot of resources, we can do a lot. But it could also be work for the next 10 to 20 years to basically be absolutely sure of all the objects that we have that we know the precise circumstances by which it was acquired.

GIOKOS: At the opening of the DRC's national museum in 2019, President Felix Tshisekedi called for Congolese artifacts to be gradually returned in an organized way. Now that work appears to be underway.

Eleni Giokos, CNN.


NEWTON: I'm Paula Newton, I'll be right back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM. WORLD SPORT, though, is straight ahead.