By Joseph DeCaro, BosNewsLife International Correspondent
BAUCHI, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– A tense calm returned Monday, June 27, to north-eastern Nigeria where at least 25 Nigerians were killed when motorcyclists bombed several outdoor beer gardens in the city of Maiduguri, officials said. Although no one claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombings, local police said the attacks bore the hallmark of Boko Haram, an Islamic group fighting for the implementation of shar’ia, or strict Islamic law, which prohibits alcohol.
Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for similar bombings in several towns after President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration targeting churches and other facilities. It also took credit for assaulting the federal police headquarters in Abuja, the capital, as well as attacks against clerics, politicians and soldiers.
It was not clear how many Christians were among those killed in the latest attacks. Christians in areas with a significant Islamic population have been targeted before, according to church groups and rights activists.
President 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". The group's 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, analysts say. The group has claimed responsibility for the deaths of both Christians and moderate Muslims who criticize its violent tactics.