Al-Shabab Attacks AU Base in Somalia Gunfire, explosions heard in Mogadishu; militants targeted Christmas party By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Dec 25, 2014 7:25 AM CST 6 comments Comments In this 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area south of Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File) (Newser) – A Somali official says gunmen have attacked the African Union base in Mogadishu. Mohamed Abdi, a policeman at the capital's airport, which shares a fence with the AU base, said today there was an exchange of fire between the gunmen and troops. Somali terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they were targeting a Christmas party at the base which houses UN offices, among others. The group claims its fighters are inside the base, reports the BBC. Some 20,000 AU troops are bolstering Somalia's weak government against an insurgency from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab. Troops have managed to push the militants from their major strongholds, including Mogadishu in 2011, but the extremist group still carries out frequent attacks. The United Nations representative to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, condemned the attack on Twitter, saying it took place at the Mogadishu airport.