Authorities in Nigeria say more than 70 people have been killed in two separate attacks in the northeastern states of Borno and Adamawa. Suspicion has fallen on the banned Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
Police on Monday blamed Islamist militants who have defied an 8-month state of emergency in northeastern Nigeria for two further fatal attacks on villages. Both attacks occurred on Sunday.
A security official in Borno state cited by Associated Press said 52 people were killed and 300 homes in Kawuri village were burned down.
The attackers began their assault near the village's weekly market by setting off explosives as vendors were packing up on Sunday night.
"No house was left standing," said witnesses, who added that gunmen had arrived in four-wheel-drive vehicles and opened fire with machine guns.
Adamawa state spokesman Ahmad Sajo said attackers wearing military uniforms killed 26 people in Wada Chakawa village after storming a church during a morning service.
After firing into the church they then burned houses and took hostages during a five-hour siege, residents said.
A local military brigade commander said troops were deployed to track the assailants.
Awamawa has been under emergency rule since May but it had been relatively calm compared to its northern neighbor Borno.
Flight of thousands
Boko Haram's insurgency began in 2009, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians and the flight of thousands to neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
Nigeria's military claims that it has been successful in forcing Islamists out of towns and cities and into remote rural areas near the border.
Ipj/hc (AFP, AP)