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Charity urges release of US pilot held in Mozambique over vitamins and food preservatives

06 December 2022


Mr Koher with his wife and children besides an AAL aircraft

Mr Koher with his wife and children besides an AAL aircraft

THE Christian charity Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has urged officials in Mozambique to expedite the release of pilot Ryan Koher, a United States citizen who, it reports, has been wrongfully detained in the country since 4 November.

MAF also called on US government leaders to “do everything in their power” to bring Mr Koher home, and invited Christians around the world to pray for his safety and swift release.

Mr Koher, who is 31, is a pilot for Ambassador Aviation Ltd (AAL), which is a partner of MAF in Mozambique. He was detained before piloting a charter flight to deliver supplies for various orphanages near Montepuez in northern Mozambique. He and two South African nationals, who had brought in the supplies for the orphanages, have been imprisoned on suspicion of supporting insurgents in the country.

MAF has stated: “In actuality, 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.”

The charity’s president and chief executive in the US, David Holsten, said: “Ryan Koher did nothing wrong. His wife and children deserve to have him back home in time for Christmas, and the organisation serving 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 and call on those in power both in Mozambique and here in the US to do everything they can to resolve this wrongful detainment.”

MAF reports that, while conducting the normal security scan at the airport, police took an interest in some vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and food-preservative supplies which Mr Koher was to deliver for the orphanages and adult staff. None of the confiscated material belonged to Koher, it said, nor had it been loaded on to the aircraft. AAL has been chartering flights to provide the orphanages with supplies since 2014.

MAF confirmed that AAL had retained a lawyer for Mr Koher, and that the US Embassy was involved. Officials attempted to meet Koher on 16 November but were denied access to him at a prison in Inhambane. AAL later learned that Mr Koher had been moved to the Machava High Security Prison near Maputo. After his move, MAF’s security protocols required that his wife and young children return to the US to allow for suitable care and protection.

Mr Holsten continued: “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.”

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