Gunmen suspected to be from the armed group Boko Haram have killed at least 32 people in three separate attacks in northeast Nigeria, including one at a theological college, a local government official and residents have said.
The coordinated attacks in the troubled Adamawa state late on Wednesday came just two days after armed fighters were blamed for killing 59 people, most of them children, as they slept at a boarding school in Yobe state.
School attacks have featured prominently in Boko Haram's most recent uprising, which has killed thousands of people. The group, declared a terrorist organization by Nigeria and the United States, has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.
The name Boko Haram loosely translates to "Western education is forbidden."
Maina Ularamu, the chairman of the Madagali local government area in Adamawa, said, "a large number of militants carried out three separate attacks on Shuwa and Kirchinga in my local government area and on Michika in neighboring Michika (district).”
"The gunmen divided themselves into three groups and separately attacked the three locations," he told the Agence France Presse news agency.
In Shuwa, several buildings were burnt, including a Christian theological college and a section of a high school.
A local resident, Kwaje Bitrus, said three bodies were recovered from the seminary and a total of 20 were killed in and around the village.
One resident in Kirchinga, Samuel Garba, said all the gunmen wore military uniforms — a tactic used by the armed fighters in previous, similar attacks.
"The gunmen... killed eight people in our village and burnt many houses," he said.
The northeastern states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno have been under emergency rule since last May, when the military launched an offensive to stamp out the armed rebellion, which has killed thousands since 2009.
The violence has also created a refugee crisis. The U.N. said on Thursday that nearly 300,000 people, more than half of them children, had fled their homes in the three states between May of 2013 and January because of the violence.
The top military commander in Adamawa state last week ordered the complete closure of the border with Cameroon to block the movements of fighters and weapons.
But the ongoing military offensive has failed to crush the armed struggle and nearly 300 people have been killed in a range of attacks so far this year.
Al Jazeera and wire services