Nigeria Boko Haram atrocities
Nigeria recently sentenced 54 soldiers to death for refusing to fight against Boko Haram insurgents. Reuters

Islamist militants have captured a military base in north-eastern Nigeria after troops deserted their stations, according to security sources.

The base was seized in the town of Baga where the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) - consisting of troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger - was supposed to be based but only Nigerian troops were stationed at the time of the attack.

After the militants launched their attack using military vehicles, troops fled the base, located on the shores of Lake Chad.

An unnamed resident told the BBC that soldiers were not sufficiently equipped to counter the attack.

"Yesterday at around 05:00 [04:00 GMT] we were woken up by heavy gunshots, and we couldn't identify where the shots were coming from," the resident said.

"They came through the north, the west and from the southern part of the town because the eastern part is only water. So, when we [went] towards the western part, we saw heavily armed Boko Haram men coming towards us.

"The soldiers were trying to repel the attack but that wasn't going to happen because a lot of the soldiers were without their guns and some were running into the town. When you see soldiers running away into the town - what are you to do, other than to just run away as well?"

The town of Baga was the scene of a massacre by the terror group in 2013 when dozens of civilians were killed in fighting between Nigerian forces and the terror group.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the terror group killed over 10,000 people in 2014 as they continued to wage their insurgency against authorities in the country's majority-Muslim northern regions.