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Australian Peacekeepers Deploy in Violence-Wracked East Timor


Australian peacekeepers have begun to deploy across East Timor and more are due to arrive following two days of violence. Fifteen people, including nine unarmed policemen, have been killed and at least 27 wounded in clashes between dismissed soldiers and government troops.

The first contingent of 1,300 Australian troops Friday fanned out across the East Timorese capital, Dili, to calm a nervous city where sporadic gunfire could still be heard.

Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that rules of engagement had been agreed with East Timorese leaders.

"[It is agreed that] We will bring peace and security to East Timor, that we will work with the East Timorese authorities to disarm the rebel and rogue elements," said Nelson.

New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia are also sending troops.

The crisis began one month ago after 600 dismissed soldiers, one-third of East Timor's army, rioted, complaining of discrimination. The government said it would investigate.

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