The African Union (AU) says its mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will be extended by December 31 this year, ending insecurity in Somalia in the hope of a peaceful general election.
The decision was reached on Tuesday during a meeting of the 15-member African Union Peace and Security Council.
A statement issued after the meeting said a general agreement had been reached to extend the operation at the end of this year.
The decision will now be submitted to the UN Security Council, which has the final decision on extending the AMISOM mission and will be voted on in late May.
AMISOM, which has been in Somalia since 2007, was set up by the African Union to support the fledgling Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.
Since then, its mandate has been extended almost every year due to security concerns over the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab extremist group.
This year, the AU and UN plan was for AMISOM troops to gradually withdraw from Somalia, and by December 2021 to vacate their bases in the country with the exception of technical personnel.
BY OSMAN HUSSEIN ALI