PARIS, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday confirmed that French and Malian forces have recaptured two central towns, Diabaly and Douentza in Mali.
According to a statement from the defense ministry, the two towns, "situated respectively at about 400 and 800 km northeast of the capital Bamako", were recaptured on Monday morning by the Malian military,"supported by French forces based in Niono (south) and Sevare Mopti (center)."
"The Malian army's advancement towards the towns held by their enemies is a certain military success for the Bamako government and the French forces, intervening in support of these operations," Le Drian said.
"I reaffirm my total confidence in our military engaged in the mission...," the minister added, "It aims to restore the sovereignty of Mali on its territory and ward off the risk of forming a terrorist sanctuary in the heart of Africa, " he said.
The recapture of the two key towns came on the 11th days since France's military intervene in Mali. So far, 2,000 French troops have staged air and ground operations in the African country to help stopping the Islamist rebels' movement towards the south and to get control of the capital Bamako.