African Union to withdraw troops from Somalia by 2020

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The African Union says it plans to withdraw its forces from Somalia by the end of 2020 after years of trying to secure the Horn of Africa country against extremist group al-Shabab.

The AU's Peace and Security Council statement issued this week comes after a series of challenges for the 22,000-strong multinational peacekeeping force, including funding issues that left some troops without pay for the past few months.

The statement says that under its exit strategy, security responsibilities will be transferred to Somalia's military gradually between 2018 and December 2020.

The decision comes after the council met June 29 on the force known as AMISOM.

The council also said the European Union, the force's largest funder, has decided to accelerate the payment of AMISOM's troop allowance.