The first members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission for southern Sudan have arrived in the country to help implement a January peace deal.

Twelve Nepalese soldiers flew into the central town of El-Obeid Wednesday, one of the main operational centers for aid agencies working in the south.

The soldiers are part of an eventual deployment of 10,000 peacekeeping troops.  The force will come mostly from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Kenya and Zambia.

The conflict in southern Sudan lasted more than two decades and claimed more than two million lives, mostly from war-induced famine and disease.

It is separate from the conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region.  More than 2,000 African Union troops have been deployed there to monitor a cease-fire.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.