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Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Picture gallery: Peacekeepers go in

The first Hercules transport plane carrying United Nations-backed peacekeeping troops into East Timor touched down at Dili airport at shortly after sunrise.

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The first peacekeepers were given 20 minutes to leave the aircraft and take up positions.

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As the first Hercules left the airport to return to Darwin, northern Australia, the platoons fanned out, securing the area.

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Indonesian soldiers looked on as troops delivered equipment.

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Members of the UK's elite Special Boat Service, the seabound equivalent of the SAS, were among the first troops in.

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A top priority was securing Dili's harbour, essential for massive deliveries of urgently-needed aid for refugees.

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Troops came face-to-face with members of the militias. Some offered no resistance and readily gave up their weapons.

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But with militias still roaming the city and other areas of the territory, the mission is expected to be long and difficult.

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