Islamist Boko Haram blamed for escalating violence in Nigeria

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

BAUCHI, Nigeria (Worthy News)-- At least 25 Nigerians were killed Sunday when motorcyclists bombed several outdoor beer gardens in Maiduguri; although no one claimed responsibility for the bombings, local police said the attacks bore the hallmark of Boko Haram, an Islamic group fighting for the implementation of shar'ia, which prohibits alcohol.

Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for similar bombings in several towns after President Goodluck Jonathan's inauguration; it also took credit for assaulting the federal police headquarters in Abuja, the capital, as well as attacks against clerics, politicians and soldiers.

Jonathan had proposed a cease-fire and offered amnesty to any members who give up their arms, but Boko Haram declined any government offers after the national police chief said that the group's days "were numbered"; its former leader, Muhammed Yusuf, was killed while in police custody in 2009.

Boko Haram, meaning "Western education/culture is sinful," grew in northern Nigeria because of widespread unemployment, poverty, and lack of schools; the group has claimed responsibility for the deaths of any fellow Muslims who criticize its violent tactics.