Mission Aviation Fellowship, a Christian-based aviation outreach group that has led humanitarian efforts in more than 30 countries since the 1940s, is calling for one of its pilots to be released from detention in Mozambique.
U.S. citizen Ryan Koher, 31, has been detained in the country since Nov. 4. He and two South African nationals are accused of supporting insurgents in the country. MAF said in a statement that the two South Africans brought in the supplies for orphanages and that Koher was detained prior to piloting a Cessna 206 charter flight to deliver supplies. No written charges have been filed, according to MAF."While conducting the normal security scan at the airport … police took an interest in some vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and food preservative supplies Koher was to deliver for the orphanages and adult staff," stated a release from MAF. "None of the confiscated material belonged to Koher nor had it been loaded onto the airplane."
Koher, 31, is a pilot for Ambassador Aviation Ltd. (AAL), which is a partner of MAF. Mission Aviation Fellowship began serving the people of Mozambique in 1999. Ambassador Aviation became the group's operational entity in 2014 as a registered charter service in the country and has since provided food, medicine and evacuations to aid Mozambique.
AAL has retained a lawyer for Koher. U.S. Embassy officials attempted to meet with him at a prison in Inhambane on Nov. 16 but were denied access.
AAL later learned Koher had been moved to the Machava High-Security Prison near Maputo. Following Koher's move to an undetermined location, MAF's security protocols required that his wife and children return to the United States to allow for better care by the organization and family.
MAF is calling on U.S. government leaders to do everything they can to bring Koher home."Ryan Koher did nothing wrong," MAF President and CEO David Holsten said. "His wife and children deserve to have him back home in time for Christmas, and the organization that serves the orphans in northern Mozambique needs the supplies he was trying to deliver when he was wrongly detained. I urge Christians around the world to pray for Ryan's safety and swift release."Due to the group's intended destination in northern Mozambique, it's believed that authorities suspect the flight was supporting insurgent activity. However, according to MAF, "Ambassador Aviation has long sought to care for those who have been harmed by the insurgency, including evacuating innocent residents following a March 2021 insurgent attack. "Ryan is a caring and gentle individual," Holsten said. "Over the last couple of years, he and his wife have worked hard to learn the language and culture of Mozambique to better serve those who rely on our service. Understandably, this situation has been very challenging for the family. We fully believe in Ryan's innocence, and we are all praying that this issue will be resolved very soon with the charges dismissed and Ryan released."
More information about the Koher family can be found at this link.