The killings took place during dawn prayers on Sunday morning, although news only emerged on Monday.

The attack occurred in the town of Konduga, 35km (22 miles) from the state capital Maiduguri.

The gunmen are suspected to be from the Islamist group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in northern Nigeria since 2009.

Nigeria's Daily Post reported that a further 26 people were being treated for injuries in hospital in Maiduguri.

A member of a civilian vigilante group told the Associated Press that four of their number were killed when they responded to calls for help.

Twelve further civilians were killed at Ngom village, closer to Maiduguri, reports say.