A Cameroon military commander says an operation has been launched to rid the country of Boko Haram militants "once and for all."

Gen. Jacob Kodji said Thursday that the operation — code-named Tentacle — involved thousands of soldiers working with Nigerian soldiers on the other side of the Cameroon's northern border.

He said Cameroonian troops were prepared to cross the border into Nigeria's Sambisa Forest, a stronghold of the Nigerian Islamic extremists. The forest has been targeted in a sustained aerial bombardment by the Nigerian Air Force this year.

Northern Cameroon has suffered raids and suicide bombings presumably carried out by Boko Haram for more than a year. The government said a particularly deadly spate of attacks in January killed at least 57 people in 17 days.