Militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group have hoisted their flag in a Nigerian town after seizing control of it, three residents have told the BBC.
Hundreds of people have fled the fishing town of Baga after the militants overran it on Wednesday night, the residents said.
The military denied Baga had fallen, saying the attack had been repelled.
But PRNigeria, an agency well-connected with the military, quoted an intelligence officer as saying that troops had made a “tactical withdrawal” from their base after coming under attack.
“The Nigerian Air Force in response to distress call quickly mobilised military aircraft and flew over 20 sorties [on] Wednesday night and throughout Thursday,” it quoted the unnamed officer as saying.
A resident, who spoke to the BBC after he fled Baga, said a militant led the morning prayer on Thursday at his mosque in the town.
Other armed militants were present at the mosque, and prayed there too, the resident said.
The militants told the congregation that civilians would not be targeted and were free to leave the town, he added.
The fighters identified themselves as being members of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (Iswap), an IS affiliate which…