Boko Haram militants have seized a town and key multinational military base in north-eastern Nigeria, officials and eyewitnesses say.
According to a BBC report, a Borno state senator said troops had abandoned the base in the town of Baga after it was attacked on Saturday.
Residents of Baga, who fled by boat to neighbouring Chad, said many people had been killed and the town set ablaze.
Baga, scene of a Nigerian army massacre in 2013, was the last town in the Borno North area under government control.
It hosted the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), made up of troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger.
Set up in 1998 to fight trans-border crime in the Lake Chad region, the force more recently took on Boko Haram.
Residents who fled to Chad said they had woken to heavy gunfire as militants stormed Baga early on Saturday, attacking from all directions.
They said they had decided to flee when they saw the multi-national troops running away.
Maina Maaji Lawan, senator for Borno North, told BBC World Service civilians had run “helter skelter” – “some into the forest, some into the desert”.
Communications with the town were cut off and exact information about casualty numbers could not be confirmed, he said.
“We are very dispirited,” the senator added.
Confirming that the military had abandoned the base, he said people’s frustration knew “no bounds” over the apparent fact that the military had not fought back.
“There is definitely something wrong that makes our military abandon their posts each time there is an attack from Boko Haram,” the senator said.