On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) released the great news that pilot Ryan Koher has been freed from a Mozambique prison. The release of Koher and his two colleagues, South Africans W. J. du Plessis and Eric Dry, is provisional at this time.
The men are ordered to remain in Mozambique and the case is ongoing. But nevertheless, we rejoice with Ryan’s wife, Annabel and their two little boys on this provisional release. Please watch this short video Annabel made two months into Ryan’s imprisonment.
Koher, an American MAF pilot, and two of his colleagues, South Africans W. J. du Plessis and Eric Dry, have been incarcerated in Mozambique for over four months. They were arrested on November 2, 2022 in the city of Inhambane while unloading cargo from an MAF flight. The cargo was a regular delivery of supplies for a church-run orphanage in the Montepuez District of Cabo Delgado. The ministry has been supplying the orphanage for four years, but Koher, du Plessis, and Dry were charged with “supporting insurgent activity.”
This past Tuesday, March 14, a coalition of human rights and religious freedom activists and groups delivered a letter in support of Koher to Mozambique’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Carlos Dos Santos. The letter was initiated by Scott Morgan, the leader of the Africa Working Group for the International Religious Freedom Roundtable.
Amongst the letter’s signatories are the Anglican Church in North America’s global religious freedom defenders, Faith McDonnell, Director of Advocacy for Katartismos Global and Patricia Streeter, co-leader of the Anglican Persecuted Church Network (APCN) of the New Wineskins Missionary Network. It also includes the organizations themselves.
The letter to the Ambassador expresses concern for health issues that the pilot was experiencing and addresses other extremely serious human rights issues in the country. It also congratulates the Ambassador on Mozambique’s assumption of the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council. And the letter concludes by requesting a meeting with the Ambassador regarding the coalition’s “concerns in Africa.”
Whether the letter to Ambassador Dos Santos had an influence in the decision to release the pilot and his colleagues, or was just a happy coincidence, it is truly an answer to prayer. And we thank God and continue to pray for total, unconditional freedom for Ryan Koher, W. J. du Plessis, and Eric Dry.