Boko Haram fighters have abducted 80 people, most of them children, in an assault on villages in northern Cameroon.

Officials confirmed to Reuters that those abducted included 30 adults and 50 young children, after suspected militants "burst into two villages in the Tourou area", in Cameroon's far northern region.

A police officer told the AFP news agency: "They torched houses and left with around 60 people. Most of these people were women and children."

Up to 80 houses were destroyed as soldiers attempted to intervene, exchanging fire with the assailants for around two hours.

Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary confirmed that three people were killed in the attack, which targeted the village of Mabass and several others along the Nigerian border.

"According to our initial information, around 30 adults, most of them herders, and 50 young girls and boys aged between 10 and 15 years were abducted," a senior army officer told Reuters.

The assault comes just days after Amnesty International released satellite images of "catastrophic" Boko Haram attacks on two towns in Nigeria earlier this month.

Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed and over 3,700 structures were either damaged or destroyed in the attacks in Baga and neighbouring Doron Baga.

The Islamist organisation was also responsible for the kidnap of more than 200 teenage girls from a school in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok last April. Those abductions caused worldwide outrage and sparked a social media campaign under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

Young girls and boys kidnapped by the terror group are being forced to participate in attacks, a rights group has warned.

Last November, a girl blew herself up in a collage in Kontagora, in Nigeria's central Niger state, killing 10.

In January, a 10-year-old girl was forced to carry out a suicide attack in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, killing 16 people.

Thousands of people have fled from Nigeria to Cameroon because of Boko Haram attacks during a six-year insurgency to create an Islamic state, which has left thousands dead.

Cameroon has criticised Nigeria for failing to do more to confront Boko Haram.

Earlier this month, Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, released a video threatening Cameroon's President Paul Biya, who has been vocal in his criticism of the group.

The Chadian government has announced it will send troops to Cameroon to help fight Boko Haram's insurgency.

On Friday, Ghana's President John Mahama said African leaders would discuss plans this week to "deal permanently" with Boko Haram militants, and that a multinational force may be considered.