ISIS siege in Mozambique so dangerous even the SAS are forced to pull out over fears of ‘Black Hawk Down’ disaster

THE ISIS siege in Mozambique is so dangerous the SAS was forced to pull out of a recovery mission due to fears of their own "Black Hawk Down" disaster.

A crack team of elite troops were deployed to Mozambique to hunt for missing Brit Phil Mawer.

Three Special Forces soldiers linked up with local mercenaries to scour the mining town of Palma for signs of the contractor.

Phil, aged in his 50s, from Somerset, has been missing since Friday when he joined a doomed convoy that tried to escape a terrorist siege.

South African mercenaries from the Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) had spotted a body believed to be Phil's in the wreckage of a car.

The SAS troops were prepared to enter the war zone but were stood down as the risk wasn't worth it to recover a dead body.

The mercenaries used an angle grinder to cut his corpse free, a source said.

The SAS team was poised to go in with them, but was ordered to stand down at the last minute.

"I think they would have gone in if it was a rescue mission, but this was a [body] recovery," a source said.

SAS chiefs wanted to avoid their own "Black Hawk Down" disaster – which resulted in dead American soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1993.

Elite troops launched a raid on the Somali capital amid civil war and famine, but two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down.

Eighteen American soldiers were killed – and six months later all US forces were withdrawn from Somalia.

The disaster was a turning point in US interventions in Africa, and in 2001 it was the subject of an Oscar-winning film directed by Ridley Scott.

The ISIS bloodbath in Mozambique has seen people beheaded and their bodies piled up in the streets near Africa’s biggest gas field.

The elite SAS soldiers deployed from Kenya, where they are based.

The body cut from the wreckage in Mozambique was flown to Vamisi, an island 12 miles off the coast, where DAG have established a forward operating base. It has not been formally identified.

The SAS troops escorted the body to the regional city of Pemba.

Zimbabwe said regional troops could intervene amid unconfirmed reports that South African citizens have been taken hostage.

Phil was helping build a 2,000-man camp for French oil giant Total when the maniac terrorists seized control of the city in southern east Africa.

The Brit has been missing since militants opened fire on 17 vehicles last week as the convoy tried to flee a hotel.

His friend Peter Zweemer claims the oil company left its workers to be “slaughtered” by the ISIS gunmen.

He told The Sun Online: "As far as I know and from eye witness accounts, unfortunately, we have to assume Phil got killed Friday.

"There is still no access into Palma to recoup bodies or assess damages and missing people do appear under the most amazing circumstances but I'm afraid the news about Phil is not encouraging.

"It's a shambles and they allowed these contractors to be slaughtered.”

The logistics consultant based in Pemba Port said workers were encouraged to go to Hotel Amarula which was eventually stormed by the terrorists.

He said: "Hotel Amarula was the place where they were to go to if there was an emergency as its strategically near Palma airstrip and near two possible evacuation beaches.

"Unfortunately the insurgents lay in wait and opened fire. Some cars made it out some got abandoned and people run into the bush, some went back to hotel."

The Sun Online has approached Total for comment.

ISIS-linked militants have been attempting to gain control of the north east region of Cabo Delgado in the country since 2017.

The insurgency has left more than 2,500 people dead and 700,000 displaced.

Palma, which was first stormed last Wednesday, is in the north of the province and is near a multi-billion-dollar gas project run by Total.

Some 100 militants, many with Islamic State flags, now control the mining town of 53,000 near Africa’s largest natural gas field.

Around 1,400 residents were rescued by boats but witnesses said bodies, many beheaded, were piling up on the streets.

Hundreds more refugees arrived in Pemba last night.

Mozambique’s Armed Forces said they were trying to retake the town and a spokesman for Zimbabwe’s president said regional countries were also preparing to intervene, if necessary.

Minister for Africa James Duddridge tweeted earlier this week: "The UK wholeheartedly condemns the appalling violence in Cabo Delgado. It must stop.

"We stand with the people of Mozambique against terror. We are contacting British people in the region to provide support and are updating our travel advice regularly."

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