An American pilot who was detained in Mozambique while working with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has been provisionally released.
MAF confirmed in a statement that Ryan Koher had been granted provisional release from prison. He had been held along with two South African volunteers, W. J. du Plessis and Eric Dry for more than four months.
They were detained in the city of Inhambane in November, while loading supplies into an aircraft that were to be taken to church-run orphanages across the country. 31 year old Mr Koher had been conducting the annual flights to the orphanages since 2014.
Although neither of the three men jailed were charged with a specific crime, it is understood that because of the supply destinations, government officials believed they were supporting insurgent activity in the north of the country.
MAF President and CEO David Holsten said in a statement at the time, that Mr Koher “had done nothing wrong.”
Under the terms of their release, the men are required to remain in Mozambique and the case is still ongoing.
Their release comes after a letter by more than 25 human rights and religious freedom individuals and organisations to the Mozambique Ambassador, Carlos Dos Santos. In it they expressed concern over the detention and also for Mr Koher’s health as his family had reported it was in decline.
The letter also said it was concerned with the insurgency raging in the Northern Province of Cabo Delgado :
“Part of our concern arises from the attacks against Houses of Worship that have taken place during the conflict such as the incident in Namade that took place around the New Year’s holiday that resulted in the deaths of two people and several homes.”
In its statement MAF said Mr Koher had spoken to his wife Annabel and his two sons and is “doing well”. The Fellowship thanked all who have been praying for the family and is asking for continued prayer that the final outcome will be a full release from prison.