The attack, it was gathered, took place on Sunday after morning service in Kwamjilari village, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of the town of Chibok, in Borno state.
“Some of the worshippers remained around the church and the gunmen opened fire and eight men died,” said Luka Damina, from nearby Kautikeri village, where locals fled.
“Unknown to the residents, the gunmen had stationed some of their comrades on the road leading out of the village and they shot anyone who tried to flee.
“Many people ran into the bush with gunshot wounds. But so far we can only confirm eight deaths.”
Speaking about the incident to pressmen, the chief said soldiers were later deployed to Kwamjilari from Chibok — the scene of a notorious kidnapping in 2014 when more than 200 schoolgirls were seized.
In August, a similar attack by the insurgents had left 10 people dead with 13 others kidnapped, while homes were looted and set on fire.
Both raids bear the hallmarks of Boko Haram Islamists, who have frequently attacked villages, churches and mosques across northeast Nigeria and beyond since 2009.