Mehri people

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"Meheri" redirects here. For other uses, see Mahra.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Mehri, Arabic, Somali

Mehri (var. Meheri, Mahri or Mahra (Arabic: مهري‎), also known as Arab Salah (Somali: Carab Saalax), are an ethnic group inhabiting South Arabia.


The Mehri are one of the largest tribes in the Al Mahrah Governorate in Yemen. Group members are also found in other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, mainly Oman and Kuwait.[1] They also reside in the Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.[2]

According to Ethnologue, there are around 115,200 total Mehri speakers. Of those, 50,000 live in Yemen (2011).[1]


The Mehri speak the Mehri language as a mother tongue. It belongs to the Modern South Arabian (MSA) sub-group of the Afro-Asiatic family's Semitic branch.[1]

Mehri is divided into two main dialects: Eastern Mehri (Mehriyot) and Western Mehri (Mehriyet). These idioms in turn have urban and Bedouin varieties.[1]

The Mehri language is most closely related to other MSA languages such as Bathari and Socotri, spoken on the island of Socotra. These tongues collectively share many features with the Old South Arabian languages (Epigraphic South Arabian), as spoken by the ancient Sabaeans, Minaeans and Qatabanians.[3]

Additionally, many Mehri today speak Arabic and Somali, both of which are also Afro-Asiatic languages.


The Mehri are predominantly Muslim adherents.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mehri language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mehri (Arab Salah)". IRBC. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Kees Versteegh, C. H. M. Versteegh (1997). The Arabic Language. Columbia University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0231111525.