ADDIS ABABA, 8th July, 2016 (WAM)–The African Union (AU) says it plans to withdraw its troops from Somalia by the end of 2020 after transferring the security responsibilities to the Somali Armed Forces.

The AU forces have been the Horn African country trying to secure it against extremist group al-Shabab.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council issued a statement this week over the issue following 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 said that under the AU exit strategy, security responsibilities will be transferred to Somalia’s military gradually between 2018 and December 2020.

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