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Al Mahrah (Arabic: ٱلْمَهْرَةAl-Mahrah), or simply Mahra, is a governorate (muhafazah) of Yemen in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Situated in the area of the former Mahra Sultanate, its capital is Al Ghaydah, and it has international borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Al Mahrah

Al Mahrah in Yemen.svg
SeatAl Ghaydah
 • GovernorRajeh Said Bakrit
 • Total122,500 km2 (47,300 sq mi)
 • Total500,000
 • Density4.1/km2 (11/sq mi)

Languages and peopleEdit

A sizeable part of the Mahrah population does not speak Arabic as their primary language. Non-Arabic-speakers primarily speak Mehri or Mahri, a Modern South Arabian language,[2] similar to the adjacent Dhofar Governorate of Oman. The people that speak Mahri call themselves 'Mahris', and are presumed to be descendants of the ancient people of 'Ad.[3]


The geography of Al-Mahrah is similar to that of neighboring Dhofar in Oman. Rigid peaks rising to around 1,300 m (4,300 ft), and the Empty Quarter Desert lies to the north. Along its coast near the border with Oman, Al Mahrah is affected by the seasonal monsoon, or Khareef. The mountains become water-soaked and the atmosphere becomes moist and foggy as vegetation turns the barren coast into lush valleys and forests. Hauf National Park is located in Al-Mahrah.[citation needed]


Yemen Civil WarEdit

The Mahrah Governorate has been a major attraction point for the alleged smuggling of weapons; however, the governorate has remained out of sight of the civil war in Yemen which began in 2014.[4]

On 10 September 2016, Three militants in the Al Mahrah governorate declared the formation of a new wilayat belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) via Social Media. Official ISIL media did not acknowledge the declaration.[5]

From 2015 to late 2017, Al Mahrah was under the control of the Yemeni 123rd and 137th Mechanized Brigades.[6] From mid-November 2017 onwards, the Saudi Arabia began increasing its presence in the governorate, taking control of facilities, Nishtun port, the Sarfit, and Shehen border crossings, and al-Gaydah Airport while establishing military outposts around key infrastructure and coastal areas.[6] On 27 November 2017, Mohammed Abdullah Kuddah, the Governor of Mahra, was replaced by Rajeh Said Bakrit, following his objections against Saudi influence.[6] In 2018, protests erupted in Mahra due to the perceived Saudi occupation.[6]


The Al Mahrah Governorate is divided into ten separate districts. These districts are further divided into sub-districts and then into villages.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Statistical Yearbook 2011". Central Statistical Organisation. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  2. ^ "GeoCurrents article". GeoCurrents. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  3. ^ Caton, Steve (2013). Middle East in Focus: Yemen. ABC-CLIO, LLC. ISBN 1598849271.
  4. ^ "Middle East Monitor article". Middle East Monitor. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Gulf of Aden Security Review - September 12, 2016". Critical Threats. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  6. ^ a b c d "Saudi Arabia and the UAE in al-Mahra: Securing Interests, Disrupting Local Order, and Shaping a Southern Military". Jamestown. Retrieved 2019-06-23.

Coordinates: 16°48′N 51°44′E / 16.800°N 51.733°E / 16.800; 51.733