According to reports the resignation was a part of a drive by the country’s new U.S.-allied government to unite its army in order to fight al Qaeda.
U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar told Reuters that Tariq Saleh, who earlier headed the Presidential Guard, had relinquished his new post as head of the 3rd Republican Guard brigade.
The unit is one of the strongest and best-equipped brigades in the military and overlooks the capital Sanaa.
“General Abdulrahman al-Halili has taken over from Tariq and is now fully in charge of the 3rd Brigade,” a senior Yemeni official said, confirming the resignation.
Defence Ministry officials said Tariq Saleh had retired and would not be taking other military posts.
His departure is a success for President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi who has been trying to draw a line under more than a year of political turmoil in Yemen by distancing his predecessor’s relatives from power and restructuring the army.
A growing Islamist insurgency in Yemen is of serious concern to the United States and oil exporter Saudi Arabia, who both fear that political infighting could give al Qaeda’s regional wing a foothold near oil shipping routes through the Red Sea.