An American Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot has been arrested in Mozambique while preparing to fly supplies to orphans in the country’s war-torn north.
31-year-old Ryan Koher has been in a high security jail for a month on suspicion of supporting Islamic insurgents.
Two South Africans in their seventies who donated the supplies are also in custody.
The trio was detained just as they were about to deliver medicines, vitamins and food preservatives to an orphanage in the troubled Cabo Delgado province.
During airport security scans, officials took interest in the shipment that belonged to Ambassador Aviation Ltd. (AAL) which is a partner of MAF.
MAF President David Holsten insisted: “Ryan Koher did nothing wrong. His wife and children deserve to have him back home in time for Christmas, and the organisation 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, and call on those in power both in Mozambique and here in the US to do everything they can to resolve this wrongful detainment,” he added.
MAF Chief People Officer Ruth Harrison said Koher’s situation is unusual.
“We haven’t seen it at all, and honestly, just detainment like this, it’s a surprise to us. The locals are as puzzled as we are on this, because it doesn’t make sense. It is out of character.”
“Ryan is a gentle giant. We know Ryan is innocent. There is really no reason for him to be held at this point.”
The Christian Post reports he’s still to be formally charged.
In recent years Islamic extremists in the country have killed thousands of Christians, raided house churches, burned homes, and displaced nearly one million people.