Saudi Arabia Detains 208 People in Wide-Ranging Corruption Probe
Saudi Arabia's attorney general is confirming the country has detained 208 people in a wide corruption probe and estimates more than $100 billion had been embezzled over many years.
In a statement Thursday, Saud al-Mojeb said seven of the people detained had been released without charge, but the other 201 remain in custody. Around 1,700 bank accounts also were frozen by the government.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he spoke with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Tuesday. The secretary said, "It's my understanding that they're characterizing [the detentions] as not really arrests at this point, but they're presenting people with evidence of what they think the wrongdoing is to see if there's a willingness to want to make things right."
Tillerson said, “it raises a few concerns until we see more clearly how these particular individuals are dealt with."
Critics of the Saudi government say the probe is aimed at purging top Saudi government officials and sidelining rivals, as 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman heads the newly formed anti-graft commission.
US Strikes Al-Shabab in Somalia
U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabab in Somalia on Thursday, killing "several militants," according to the U.S. military.
The drone strike hit targets in the Bay Region of Somalia, about 160 kilometers west of the capital, Mogadishu, Pentagon spokeswoman Audricia Harris told VOA.
No civilians were killed in the strike, Harris said.
According to a statement from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the strike occurred about 3 p.m. local time in Somalia in coordination with the Somali government.
"U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," Africa Command said.
The strike comes less than a week after U.S. airstrikes targeted Islamic State (IS) fighters in the country's north.
Jama Mohamed Qurshe, the chairman of the town of Qandala, told VOA Somali that the U.S. strikes last Friday hit a base for IS militants at Buqa village, about 60 kilometers south of his town, in the semiautonomous region of Puntland.
A U.S. Africa Command official told VOA those two strikes killed "fewer than five" Islamic State fighters. They were the first U.S. airstrikes against IS militants in Somalia.