Bodies littered the streets after a suspected Boko Haram attack on four villages, in the latest upsurge in violence claiming increasing numbers of civilian lives.
Some community leaders put the death toll from the Tuesday attacks in the Gwoza district of Borno state as high as 400 to 500, although there was no independent verification because of poor communications in the remote area.
If confirmed, the attacks in the villages of Goshe, Attagara, Agapalwa and Aganjara would be among the deadliest in the Islamists' five-year insurgency and top the more than 300 who were killed on 5 May in nearby Gamboru Ngala.
"The killings are massive but nobody can give a toll for now because nobody has been able to go to that place because the insurgents are still there. They have taken over the whole area," lawmaker Peter Biye told AFP.
"There are bodies littered over the whole area and people have fled," added Biye, who represents Gwoza in the House of Representatives.
Gunmen pretend to be preachers
Boko Haram's bloody reign of terror is forcing 800 people to flee from their homes every day and has claimed more than 3 000 lives in the past year, the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) said.
Another 45 people were killed when suspected Boko Haram gunmen pretending to be itinerant preachers opened fire on a crowd in the village of Barderi near the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Wednesday evening.
One survivor, Mallam Bunu, said: "They… lied to us that they had come to preach to us and when almost all the villagers had gathered, another set of insurgents emerged from nowhere and opened fire on the congregation before we all scampered for safety."
On Thursday four people were killed near the home of a state governor when a pick-up truck loaded with grain bags exploded, a government source told AFP.
The blast happened near the private residence of Gombe state governor Ibrahim Dankwambo in the upscale Government Reserve area of the state capital.